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Monday, May 20, 2013 - 6.38 GMT
Maldives opposes changing CHOGM venue from Sri Lanka


The Maldives is against changing the venue of the Commonwealth Summit from Colombo and totally opposes bringing any punitive actions against Sri Lanka, Maldives Foreign Minister Dr. Abdul Samad Abdullah has said.

The Maldivian Foreign Minister who was in Sri Lanka on a brief visit told Sunday Times that Maldives was against any move to change the venue of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka from 15-17 November.

Dr. Abdullah, who was one of the nine members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) that met last month in London, said Maldives, was among countries that thwarted moves for a venue shift while some others raised the issue at the meeting.

John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada raised the issue at the CMAG meeting as Canadian Head of the Government Stephen Harper has decided to boycott the summit if Sri Lanka didn't take steps to correct its human rights situation.

"I have seen and experienced what Sri Lankans went through for so many years due to the scourge of terrorism. So it is unfair to bring punitive action of any sort against a country that has been through such a traumatic experience," Dr. Abdullah has said.

The Maldivian Minister, who has received his education from Zahira College in Colombo, has recalled the fear psychosis that had gripped Sri Lanka when he was working at the World health Organization office in Colombo.

He said that there might have been excesses during the war but the internal mechanism that had been put in place by the Sri Lanka Government could address those concerns.

According to the visiting Minister, his country had also been unfairly subjected to 'punitive action' by being put on the CMAG agenda after last February's transfer of power in the country following the controversial resignation of the then President Mohamed Nasheed.

"For a country that has gone through the experience of being on the CMAG agenda, we know that it is unfair to put Sri Lanka through the same experience," he said.

Following the CMAG meeting in April, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma affirmed that no member government had indicated that it wishes to change the venue of CHOGM from Colombo despite Canada's vehement opposition to holding the Summit in Sri Lanka.






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Last modified: May 20, 2013.

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