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Key dovish on Sri Lanka, wins elephant

17 November 2013 06:14 am - 14     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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New Zealand has gained an elephant and Prime Minister John Key has fired off a tweet to someone who isn't the British prime minister while attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Mr. Key attended CHOGM despite calls at home for him emulate the leaders of Canada, India and Mauritius and boycott it over concerns about Sri Lanka's human rights record.

Mr. Key says it is better to be talking to Sri Lanka than not, and he also defended his refusal to back calls for an independent inquiry into the reports of 40,000 civilian deaths.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has visited Sri Lanka's Northern Province and backed the United Nations' call for an independent investigation.
However, Mr Key fudged his response to why New Zealand wasn't doing the same in an interview with TVNZ's Q&A on Sunday.

"The question is whether that would actually achieve a lot or whether the focus would be better saying `we have had this national inquiry' ... so the real question for Sri Lanka, as the military tend to withdraw from the north, can you end up with a ... peaceful long term position?"

The item sparked Labour's foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer to say New Zealand's foreign affairs focus had now shrunk to little more than a discussion on trade, or "agricultural diplomacy".

"As Kiwis we once proudly stood as an independent and honest broker, strongly supporting democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Regrettably, that reputation can no longer be defended."

Mr Key was also denying the deaths of 45,000 civilians in 2009, Mr Shearer said.

"The war was a vicious one, with atrocities committed on both Tamil and government sides. I worked there for two years in the 1990s; I witnessed its brutality."

Mr Shearer said the contrast between Mr Key and Mr Cameron, with his strong call for an inquiry, could not be more stark. "John Key appears to have stayed within his hotel confines and taken most of his information from a government-supplied bodyguard."

While Mr Key defended his dovish stance on Sri Lanka, New Zealand has gained an elephant.

Sri Lankan Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa told Q&A his country wanted to send New Zealand an elephant as a symbol of the two countries' friendship.

During his Sri Lankan trip, Mr Key also won a bet with Mr Cameron over the result of the rugby Test between their two countries, won by the All Blacks 30-22.
Mr Cameron said he would make a $100 donation to the Christchurch earthquake appeal and wear New Zealand cufflinks.

However, in an attempt to converse with Mr Cameron on Twitter, Mr Key, or whoever runs his account, sent a message to US man David Cameron asking him to send photos of the cufflinks.

David Cameron of Oregon says on Twitter he is "NOT the prime minister. I am a dude from America, who is more awesome than the prime minister". (NZN)
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  Comments - 14

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  • k.banada Monday, 18 November 2013 09:33 AM

    Good one. If you support war crime you will get elephant and more

    priyantha Monday, 18 November 2013 09:56 AM

    unfortunately john key was there to sell anchor milk and tony abbott was there to stop the movement of boat ppl to his country.

    Duminda N Jayatileke Monday, 18 November 2013 10:06 AM

    Flatwhite, there maybe sporting teams & conferences in SL but an enquiry into war crimes must go ahead. Then the truth will prevail.

    Ravin Sunday, 17 November 2013 04:36 PM

    You talk like only you lost loved ones. You're mistaken mate and it shows how narrow minded you people are.

    bheda Sunday, 17 November 2013 04:36 PM

    Flatwite if the NZ had visited the north they would seen what the army was doing tit he tamil population over there

    idroos Sunday, 17 November 2013 04:37 PM

    well said flat white

    rupal Sunday, 17 November 2013 12:14 PM

    we can not forget the past mate ! if you lost someone in your family then you will feel the pain!

    idroos Sunday, 17 November 2013 04:38 PM

    The wetern allies no moral right to talk about human values Mr Cameron Clean u home first and can then only request the neighbors

    therese Sunday, 17 November 2013 05:21 PM

    Well said.

    therese Sunday, 17 November 2013 05:23 PM

    I lost my cousin in the war in Colombo when the LTTE attacked the Central bank. We are not singhalese, nor tamils. The LTTE were ruthless in their suicide attempts.

    flatwhite Sunday, 17 November 2013 07:38 AM

    We are sri lankans in NZ and all kiwis know the truth and the reality of tamil tigers suicide missions for 30 years. NZ Cricket team were victims twice of brutal bombings by the tamil tigers. Now we have international teams coming, international conferences taking place and NZ Crickerters, NZ Rugby 7's players coming morethan thrice to sl and NZ citizens visiting sl and commenting about SL. We have good values but Sad Cameron had to play for diaspora the english style.

    Vic Sunday, 17 November 2013 06:36 PM

    Yes, all hunky dory but you may have to answer the War Crimes allegations.

    STAN SILVA Sunday, 17 November 2013 07:06 PM

    Cameron has been a dead loss and a blooming big disgrace to his country. Ill-bred fellow did not know how to conduct himself at an international leaders conference - all for a few votes for his dopey Tory party at next election in 2015. The joker is sure to lose - most unpopular "posh-boy" Prime Minister UK has had in 100 years ......... they say ! Very much the "hand-boy" of the USA.

    Saman Kolla Monday, 18 November 2013 12:00 AM

    Japan is paying for Korea, China, Indonesia for its brutality in its wars with those countries. Japan also is paying for 2 Nd world war. There was a credible reconciliation process. Whatever LTTE did, as a government can't forget brutal atrocities government had towards civilians. SL governments have been doing this since independence 1972, 1983, 88-89 and 2008-2009. Only way to stop this precedents is by an international inquiry and reconciliation and punishing the current government. There's more LTTE to punish. Otherwise they are too qualified for that. Yes we hold international conferences now but what's the percentage of Tamil presence in any of our major national events or any of other film festivals, or cultural events? Thats why we see there's no inner peace there.


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