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President Mahinda Rajapaksa To Address Oxford Union December 2nd

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Sunday, 28 November 2010 12:15 No Comment]

Its Official. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be leaving Sri Lanka onMonday night, bound for the United Kingdom. He is scheduled to address theOxford Union Society on December 2nd, the same day that the famous explorerSir Ranulph Fiennes will also address the Union.

President Rajapaksa’s visit to the UK – he departs after finishing hisduties with the Prime Minister of Pakistan who is now visiting the island -sends a strong signal to the Tamil diaspora in the United Kingdom that thePresident of Sri Lanka is hardly anxious about threats to have him arrestedwhilst in the UK, using the global jurisdiction laws in Britain. Sourcesclose to the Presidential Secretariat confirmed the visit, saying thePresident would be away for six days and is being accompanied by close aideSajin Vaas Gunawardena. There was no confirmation from the British ForeignOffice as to whether the President will be given an appointment to see DavidCameron the British Prime Minister. It is thought it unlikely that PresidentRajapaksa will agree to meet either William Hague or Deputy Prime MinisterNick Clegg, due to protocol procedures.

The British laws have met with growing controversy and the Foreign Secretary (Minister) William Hague has promised to have the laws changed. Israelobjected strongly to the laxity of those laws which meant that the deputyIsraeli Prime Minister and its Opposition Leader cancelled their plannedvisits to Britain fearing arrest. The laws were used most famously when MrsThatcher was in office, against Chilean strongman, General Augusto Pinochet,the 30th President of Chile. He was arrested and held under house arrest oncharges of crimes against humanity, before being released by then HomeSecretary, Jack Straw on health grounds without being charged. GneralPinochet was said to have been allowed to leave thanks largely to the closerapport he had with Mrs Thatcher and due to the strategic importance ofChilean support during the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina.During his house arrest Mrs Thatcher visited him in Surrey on more than oneoccaision to have tea with him. (FS)

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