Home » News

Sri Lanka rejects EU offer

[Hindu, Thursday, 24 June 2010 21:11 No Comment]

The Sri Lankan government on Thursday rejected the conditional offer made by the European Union (EU) for extension of GSP+ tariff concessions for a limited period and said that the conditions imposed by the EU amounted to interference into the internal affairs of the island nation.

Addressing a news conference here, Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris maintained that 15 conditions imposed by the EU on GSP+ tariff concessions amounting to $150 million undermined the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and were not acceptable.

“It is the view of the government that the position taken by the Commission involves the imposition of a series of conditions, the cumulative effect of which is clearly inconsistent with Sri Lanka’s sovereignty,” said the Minister.

The European Commission had said last week it was ready to propose to the European Council to maintain GSP+ preferences for Sri Lanka for a limited additional period, subject to a clear and written commitment by the government of Sri Lanka to undertake a well defined number of human rights related actions within a six-month period beginning in July.

No visa for U.N. panel

The Sri Lanka government’s rejection of the EU’s offer came a day after it denounced the appointment of a three-member experts panel by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to advice him on matters related to accountability and alleged human rights violations in the last phase of the war between the island nation’s security forces and the LTTE.

Mr. Peiris made it known that Colombo would not issue visas to the three-member expert panel of the U.N. “We will not issue them with visas. We will not allow them into this country. We feel the panel is an unnecessary interference. The government should be given a free space to make its own findings,” he said.

The Minister contended that appointment of an eight-member Commission on Lessons learnt and Reconciliation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last month would address the issues and there was no need for an outside enquiry into matters related to the island nation.

The Rajapaksa Government has been resisting pressures from within and outside for an independent investigation into the alleged excesses in the last phase of the Eelam War IV. For several months now Sri Lanka Government has been engaged in verbal dual both with the U.N. and the EU on the subject.

On the EU conditions the Minister said, “The possible expectation of the restoration of the GSP+, cannot be an exception to this cardinal principle. In taking this decision, the Government is conscious that there are some opposed, both to the economic recovery of Sri Lanka from the conflict as well as to the further strengthening of national amity.

“These extremist elements are bound to claim the decision to stop the GSP+ with effect from 15th August 2010, as an endorsement of their cause. The gist of the Government’s considered view is that the conditions imposed by the European Commission, under the guise of what is essentially a trade agreement, amount to an intervention, the range and depth of which inevitably erodes in every significant respects, the authority of the Government of Sri Lanka to decide upon, and to deal with, a variety of sensitive domestic issues which have a vital bearing on the wellbeing of our nation”.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.