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MR regrets

1 December 2010 08:30 pm - 54     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed regret after the Oxford Union cancelled a scheduled speech by him amid security concerns, the President’s office said on Wednesday.

"I am very sorry this has had to be cancelled, but I will continue to seek venues in Britain and elsewhere where I can talk about my future vision for Sri Lanka," the President said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Rajapakse's Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, said the Oxford Union had cancelled the talk following pressure from elements supporting Sri Lanka's defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the AFP reported.

A group of Tamils in London had planned a demonstration to coincide with Thursday's event. They also staged a protest when Rajapakse arrived in London on Tuesday.

"This (cancellation) is a decision that has been made unilaterally by the Oxford Union, reportedly as a result of pressure applied by pro-LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) activists," Weeratunga said.

The Oxford Union, which has hosted speakers ranging from Michael Jackson to the Dalai Lama, in a statement defended its cancellation of Rajapakse's talk.

"This decision was not taken lightly and the Union deeply regrets the cancellation," it said. "The Union has a long tradition of hosting prominent speakers and upholding the principles of free speech."

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  Comments - 54

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  • Liz Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:44 AM

    whats so special about tamils? If they want a solution they should go back to their own country India and leave Sri Lanka alone.

    Rishi Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:45 AM

    This was never going to happen. I live in London and have direct connections to the University fraternity. It was more pressured from the govt and pro-govt people close and within Oxford.
    OSU were never keen on having him as a speaker.

    Just a blatant waste of public funds.

    Mylanka Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:52 AM

    Well said....!!!

    mallie Thursday, 02 December 2010 04:06 AM

    According their website Oxford Union is this: "The Union receives no financial support from the Government, and is independent of the University. As an educational charity, it relies on membership fees and commercial sponsorship..."
    There is no Oxford University Union. There is an Oxford University Student Union.

    xlntgson Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:11 AM

    The president has every right to appear in the forum to express his views, those people accusing him a dictator have no guts though he braved to go to London inspite of the veiled threat that he would be arrested. Notwithstanding, I condemn on the veiled threats on Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene, we all should mind that these fora, inc. the legislature necessary to comment later, the fountains of democracy though we here comment as representatives of the public forum.

    Arani Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:19 AM

    You are absolutely correct.
    But no one can understand this basic principle in Srilanka.
    That is sad!.........very sad!!

    Concerned Thursday, 02 December 2010 04:23 AM

    We Sri Lankans consider this a great insult to MR, & to the whole Sri Lankan nation.

    Anti-Colombian Thursday, 02 December 2010 04:23 AM

    To all those who celebrate this cancellation of the speech:
    You should be ashamed of yourselves.
    You may not like the President. However he is the president of Sri Lanka.
    This is a slap in the face of the President of our country and therefore an insult to our country.
    The least you can do is not to celebrate

    psyke Thursday, 02 December 2010 04:24 AM

    he can give the written speech to someone and he can read it for others later on

    siva Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:45 AM

    British is democracy country,it is not like srilaka.

    zorro Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:01 AM

    you mean other than the bunch of toilet cleaners? who send money for the survival of the corrupt country?

    uk-tamil Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:08 AM

    Please do not blame the whole Tamils in UK for this cancelation. As some of the money hungry LTTE fund collectors are still active in UK organising this kind of foolish things. Most of the Tamils in UK are not with them any more. This years Maveerar celebration has seen less crowd than last year. People who are on Dole and without Visa’s are participating this kind of activates. Also local Tamil politicians are with them to win the next local Council elections. This minority will soon realise that Tamils in Sri Lanka are ready to live peacefully with the Sinhalese and Muslims. The true Sri Lankan Tamil will demand war crime against the LTTE as they killed most of our beloved Tamil leaders. Channel 4 may have shown a clip of inhumanity but there are hundreds of inhuman act were carried out by the LTTE against the whole Sri Lankan, Indian and others. We all Sri Lankan should unite and encourage this : No further without forgiveness, let us build a new Sri Lanka.

    Pakiyam Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:10 AM

    Siva looks like you dont know what british democracy is.
    I will tell you that most of them are selfish unhumna fellows who have no proper values but thinking of their own goal and to get votes. They supported the LTTE supportes just for that but failed to win the election. So democracy has gone out of the window. But they are good pretenders. I can give you more as I live here in UK.

    Ranjith Thursday, 02 December 2010 05:00 AM

    Well said!. This UK are in a state of unruly traitors.and asylum seekers.

    They cant hanle a meeting inside a University?
    Poor defence strategy!.

    ranil Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:32 AM

    is oxford paying for the expenses of the HE

    psunil Wednesday, 01 December 2010 09:01 PM

    Is he returning home or heading to Nepal to hold the scheduled speech ?.......who pays the London hotel bills & other costs ?

    samual Wednesday, 01 December 2010 09:27 PM

    shame shame pappy shame,,,,,,,,,,,

    Kalani Raja Wednesday, 01 December 2010 10:04 PM

    Mr President, please explain your future vision clearly to the Sri Lankans first. I don't think you have explained your Chintanaya very well. It is quite ambiguous.

    King Elara Wednesday, 01 December 2010 10:24 PM

    Feel sorry for our poor president, this is what happens when you dont treat the deserving people like SF.

    Ross Milan Wednesday, 01 December 2010 10:26 PM

    HE new about it before he left to Oxford

    Don Thursday, 02 December 2010 06:00 AM

    It is shoking news. Why UK Gvt behave in deplomatic way. If SL do such a thing, the whole world will come against us. UK listen.. we never bow .We are SriLankans

    sugumaran Thursday, 02 December 2010 12:18 PM

    Briton not srilanka. real democracy in her(UK)

    anpan Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:14 PM

    A king would punish your wrongdoing immediately but God punishes eventually.

    Patriotic Man Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:14 PM

    What free speech? What happened to the war on terrorism? Why are you supporting the LTTE terrorists now?

    NADARAJAH SETHURUPAN Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:27 PM

    We are Tamils with You Sir.

    ranga077 Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:47 PM

    Very bad move on sri lanka......so sad about this////

    rohandil Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:53 PM

    Unbelievable that the British government can't control the Tamil pro LTTE in there own country.

    SRI Thursday, 02 December 2010 12:52 PM

    ya Nadarajah, lets move forward as "Sri Lankans"

    A Joseph Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:07 PM

    talk for yourself...do not use the term "we" when its only you.

    No Name Please Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:09 PM

    you are wrong we are not with you, after all may be only one guy pretending to be a tamil

    danny boy Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:34 AM

    So out tax money waisted on a useless trip.

    JAMES Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:39 AM

    LTTE Diaspora, separatists, Father Emmanuel, Tamil Cyber Space Government, British MPs , British journalists, human right lawyers (all on LTTEs PAYROLL) of course biased BBC, GUARDIAN and Channel 4 more formidbal foe than Sarath Fonseka UNP or DNA.
    Real challenge to the president.
    They slapped our president on face.
    They are also active in NEW YORK for our war hero General
    Shrvanda Silva on war crime charges.
    All because psychopathic terrorist Leader is no more

    Thomas Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:42 AM

    SO MUCH MONEY WASTED!
    What is this OXFORD UNION? Has it to got any thing with OXFORD UNIVERSITY UNION?????????????

    Mendis Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:45 PM

    Malkanthi you can be on a different plant. What proof have you got that MR was foretold and warned. MR has other important meetings - just because the police cannot give protection to a visiting head of state who is here on an invitation doesn't mean the visit is in vain. There are other protests going on in UK and added to it bad weather severly disrupting travel. So we have to take polic warnings as we do not know what these illegal immigrants waving tiger flags will be upto.

    suresh Thursday, 02 December 2010 01:52 PM

    In my view, irrespective of any other factors to have cancelled the event, MR is not knowledgeable or adequately equipped to such an august gathering.... only the best is educated in Oxford!

    Charlie Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:07 AM

    UK, Oxford Union, because of your bad step, more Sinhelese racists will help Rajapakse regime.

    azath Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:07 AM

    disgrace to our nation, should have thought before setting on this journey

    malkanthi Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:24 AM

    This was evident before HE left the country. He was foretold and warned, but pity neither the poor sighted advisers nor the security council could understand. It is high time rectify past errors, before it takes deeper roots. What is suppressed here is emerging in international soil.

    Jay Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:22 PM

    Hubris...the gods are going to bring MR down to size...his head has gotten too big.

    Dhanushka Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:46 AM

    Damm Foolish Union...Why Our President Went there. to speech such a nattami union

    spark Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:47 AM

    This is solely the fault of MR for failing to apply a political solution to the tamil problem. It is 2 years since the war was won, but absolutely nothing has been done on providing a constitutional change to the north and east. We only see bills for casinos moving through parliament like lightning speed. If real peace is required MR needs to be magnanimous and provide a tamil solution to the tamil community without imposing extreme sinhalese solutions to the tamil in the north and east.

    SRI Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:50 AM

    forget the cost and all might not agree with the presidents political agenda but we should not forget that the president represents us "Sri Lankans" in the international world, so dont you see this is a slap on our face as Sri Lankans.

    Lankan Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:51 AM

    well said SRI, ur a true Sri Lankan, i am not a supporter of MR, but sme how he is our President, now we should raise together against every evil. in foriegn countries such as US, India, UK, people are with the governing body, everyone should know, first we have to protect our motherland, president is representing it. dont consider Mahinda Rajapaksa, but take he the 'President of Sri Lanka'

    looney Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:51 AM

    Charlie, there are no raciest in sri lanka. we are all sri lankans. this is a disgrace for our country and UK should be a shamed they cant provide security over a bunch of toilet cleaners.

    JAYANATH PERERA Thursday, 02 December 2010 02:53 AM

    We should not take the foot off the accelerator. This shows how organised the Tamil Diaspora in Western countries. Most of these sympethisers are still in the LTTE pay roll. Your Exellency, your job is still not over. Be on the guard.

    ruki S Thursday, 02 December 2010 03:09 AM

    It appears that the King's empire has started to crumble.
    This may be the beginning of his end

    Dengue Thursday, 02 December 2010 03:20 AM

    All these foolish acts by the Pro Tamil Tigers will lead to deepen the wounds of both Singhalese and Tamil ethnic communities. See, still, the Tamil Diaspora is in an arrogant mentality of their foolish armed liberation struggle with the Singhalese. This won’t lead to any good thing, will lead to continue to widen the gap between these two ethnic communities….

    Beewhy Thursday, 02 December 2010 03:25 AM

    Lets not forget only the LTTE-military was crushed in May 18th 2009. Not the cause. we need to seriously ask why did a violent force like LTTE arise? We need to go to the deep roots and find solution.....if not with all the military batallion in the North, it is like keeping a rubber ball under water.....all MR doing is to further strengthen his power.....which may give us worse curse than LTTE.....(Am not a Tamil, I love my country and the people...)

    saravana Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:09 AM

    Great job by UK Ceylonist Tamil..

    lankaputha Thursday, 02 December 2010 03:36 AM

    The point is... was there a scheduled speech from him for the student union at first place. There was some Sri Lankan student organization that invited MR for a speech for the members of that organization. After that too leaked in WIKIleak

    Sri Lankan Thursday, 02 December 2010 03:37 AM

    God Bless Sri Lanka

    ajith Thursday, 02 December 2010 03:43 AM

    No need to go there when there is technology.
    Make your address from Srilanka and tell your vision to word live via Satalite Telvision broadcast .


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