Britain said that it is awaiting Sri Lanka’s reply on whether the latter will support the issue of preventing sexual violence in conflict.
In response to a Parliamentarian in the British Parliament, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague said, “I discussed with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka specific support for our initiative, and we await their reply on whether they will support it.”
The full statement on Sri Lanka:
“On Sri Lanka, yes we secured the commitment in the Commonwealth communiqué, which I have to point out we could not have done had we not been there. While I was in Sri Lanka, I also gave a public speech on preventing sexual violence in conflict that was widely reported in the Sri Lankan media—on the television and across the newspapers—so I think we drew the attention of a far wider audience in Sri Lanka to this subject. I discussed with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka specific support for our initiative, and we await their reply on whether they will support it. Of course, there are aspects that the Sri Lankan Government will find difficult to sign up to, which is why it is important to put it to them and to continue putting it to them. We can only do that, however, if we meet them, which we would not have done had we followed the right hon. Gentleman’s advice.”
“…we have made an impact on this issue in Sri Lanka that we could not have made otherwise, particularly in the speech—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman says that I am misrepresenting the position, but we understood the Opposition to be saying that we should not go to Sri Lanka. If we had not been to Sri Lanka, we would not have been able to do anything of this: to secure the communiqué; to make a speech on sexual violence to raise the issue with the Sri Lankan Government and to have coverage all over the Sri Lankan media. So Opposition Members can shake their heads or stick them in the sand, but the effect is the same. The answer is that I am comfortable that we did the right thing to raise this issue in a big way in Sri Lanka,” he said.