India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid today urged the Sri Lankan leadership to look at “possible ways to avoid an hostile attitude towards people and countries that matter,” in the light of a likely US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions in March.
Briefing a delegation of Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi, Mr. Kurshid said Sri Lanka should move ahead so that India could also tell the world what had been done there.
“Neither should Sri Lanka be oversensitive. Nor should the world be over-reactive. You have to find the right balance with the objective of finding lasting peace in Sri Lanka, building upon the peace you’ve got after 30 years,” he said.
While noting that no country can isolate itself from the world today, Mr. Kurshid said what is legitimate and fair has to be looked at.
“Again none of us can dictate to you that this is the only way to move forward. We can only say that these are the possible ways to do it,” he added.
Being cautious when inquired about the resolutions that had been brought up at successive UNHRC sessions, Mr. Kurshid said, “Whatever we say of a definitive nature will dilute our ability to help… For us to be of help, you should do what we could tell… look this is what Sri Lanka is doing. We have a lot of satisfaction to express. But it is important to take the world with us, including those who are cynics. And there are enough people in the world who understand reason. We should reason with them.”
He said it was important for Sri Lanka to find ways of communicating with the rest of the world.
“We have to find ways of communicating our compulsions, limitations and our capacity and seek greater understanding from the world. Not as an excuse, not as an alibi, not as an escape. But as a process,” Mr. Kurshid said. “Some people may have reasons, an agenda, that is compelled by their own domestic constituencies because of overseas Sri Lankans—Diaspora –who have a very significant role in the politics of those countries.”
However, Mr. Kurshid also hinted at the domestic electoral compulsions in India as well with regard to issues concerning Sri Lanka against the backdrop of the upcoming general election in India.
“This is a difficult thing because for you and us this is a very critical moment. We are in election mode. Election time is not always easy to be able to explain to people. There is neither time nor willingness to listen to things,” he said.
Mr. Kurshid said all countries are committed to the United Nations.
“Sri Lanka is not always at the receiving end. Sri Lanka has many times played an important role in UN institutions. I can think of what Sri Lanka did when we were attacked. So we are deeply conscious that you have a role in the world.”
Speaking of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, he said though there are two views in Sri Lanka about it the process should continue through dialogue such as the Parliamentary Select Committee. Commenting on the Northern Provincial Council election, he said it was a move with “foresight” and a “major opening.”
Speaking about Northern Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran, he said he was the “right man and a good man.” “When I met him I saw a lot of promise.” (Kesara Abeywardena and P. Mathanavasan in New Delhi)