Canada Holds C'Wealth to Ransom: SL - The New Indian Express

Canada Holds C'Wealth to Ransom: SL

Published: 29th April 2014 09:11 AM

Last Updated: 29th April 2014 09:11 AM

Sri Lanka on Tuesday condemned Canada’s suspension of funding of Commonwealth projects in the Island Nation, and accused Ottawa of  holding the Commonwealth to ransom. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said on Monday that funds will remain suspended so long as President Mahinda Rajapaksa is chairman of the Commonwealth. 

“Concern has been expressed amongst the wider Commonwealth that the countries which provide the majority of the finances seek to unduly influence the working of the organisation. This action by Canada stands in evidence of such machinations. Regrettably, the Canadian government has sought to use its voluntary funds as a political tool based on the dictates of electoral compulsions, thereby holding the membership of the wider Commonwealth to ransom,” the Lankan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

External interference will only hold back the reconciliation process, the statement said, and added that Canada’s action is at variance with the underlying spirit of the Commonwealth as a voluntary organisation of sovereign states, with diversity being the hallmark.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had boycotted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in November 2013 accusing the Lankan government of not doing enough to protect human rights and address issues of war crimes and ethnic reconciliation.

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