By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Sri Lanka says it has a backup mechanism in place in the event the European Union (EU) withdraws the GSP plus trade benefits for the country over its failure to adhere to the conditions set by the 27 member block.
Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters a short while ago that the conditions put forward by the EU in order for Sri Lanka to continue to benefit from GSP are similar to conditions raised by the opposition including Ranil Wickramasingha, Karu Jayasuriya, Rauff Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan.
He noted that no citizen of Sri Lanka can agree to the conditions of the EU as it violates the integrity and sovereignty of the country.
Meanwhile speaking at a seperate press briefing in Colombo a short while ago, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris confirmed that the cabinet which convened under President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday had strongly rejected the conditions put forward by the EU.
Minister Peiris said that among the conditions put forward by the EU was for the government to remove the emergency regulations, repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the implementation of the 17th ammendment.
However the Minister stated that the government position was that since the implementation of the 17th ammendment was a domestic matter, no foreign country could intervene.
"If we are to comply with the EU conditions we have to overhaul the consitution. We are not prepared to do that," Minister Peiris said.
The Minister further said that the government will not continue dialogue with the EU on this specific matter of the GSP+ trade benefits.