UK to oppose Sri Lankan bid to host Commonwealth summit
British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has finally made it official. The British PM has raised "real concerns about Sri Lanka's bid" to host 2011 Commonwealth summit. The 60th Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, being held in Port of Spain starts on Friday where one of the key issues will be the choice of the 2011 venue.
Sources close to PM's office voiced the concerns about the way the Sri Lankan government handled the recent war and the impact on civilians.
"We simply cannot be in a position where Sri Lanka - whose actions earlier this year had a huge impact on civilians, leading to thousands of displaced people without proper humanitarian access - is seen to be rewarded for its actions."
As per the United Nations estimates, the conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels (LTTE) has left at least 7,000 civilians dead, while about 150,000 people are still displaced and living in heavily guarded camps.
Mr Brown said in June: “Sri Lanka stands on the brink. We have called repeatedly for the violence to cease. The humanitarian agencies must be granted access to civilians caught in the crossfire of a dreadful conflict. Sri Lanka must understand that there will be consequences for its actions.”
Among other issues, Climate change will be high on the agenda at the meet of 53 nations. This is also the last major gathering of international leaders before the global summit at Copenhagen starting on 7 December. Leaders including the UN chief Ban Ki-moon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Danish PM Lars Rasmussen are also attending the summit. This is hoped to lend weight to any statement on the issue. These nations represent about one-third of human population and one-fifth of global trade. About half of the Commonwealth members are island nations, many of them threatened by rising sea levels.
The group will also be discussing the proposed re-entry of Zimbabwe to the organization, suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002. Some of the member states are supporting Zimbabwe's entry. The summit will also back the deadline set by the Southern African Development Community for the two parts of the government to start resolving their differences.
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