20 May 2011 02:03
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
European Union Ambassador Bernard Savage yesterday reiterated that Sri Lanka needed to take follow-up action in line with the recommendations made by the United Nation Secretary General’s Advisory Panel Report but emphasized the EU had no intention of bringing about a regime change in Sri Lanka.
“The allegations are serious and we have taken note of the findings of the three-member panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Sri Lanka needs to respond to the allegations levelled in the report,” Mr. Savage told Daily Mirror yesterday.
“However, there is no truth in the suggestion that the EU is attempting to change the Sri Lankan government. I totally deny it,” Mr. Savage added.
When told that Sri Lankans and the government believed that the three-member advisory panel report was highly biased, one sided and consists of hearsay, Mr. Savage said EU had not pre-judged the report.
When asked why the EU parliament did not utter a word on the human rights violations and mass murder by NATO forces and the United States in Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Mr. Savage remained non committal saying it was not his job to comment on these issues.
But he said the EU had passed several resolutions on various countries over issues of human rights violations and Sri Lanka was not an exception.
Commenting on EU policy on the huge Sri Lankan Tamil population in Europe as either legal or illegal immigrants or political refugees, Mr. Savage said it was up to individual member countries to take action against those who had entered those countries illegally.
With regard to last week’s EU debate on Sri Lanka, he said the EU parliament would decide on EU policy and necessary action at the appropriate time and in line with the stance taken by member countries.
Mr. Savage said a re-assessment of the GSP+ facility as requested by European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) was up to the European Commission’s Trade Director General to decide.
He said Sri Lanka was for a long time a partner in trade and humanitarian operations of the EU, as such the EU has a positive impression on Sri Lanka, Mr. Savage said.