Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had cancelled a scheduled meeting with a British All Party Parliament delegation. Sources told the Colombo Gazette that the meeting had been pre-arranged but was cancelled at the last minute. The British All Party Parliament delegation was in Sri Lanka for a week and wrapped up their visit today with meetings in Colombo.
The delegation, which had visited the north as well as the southern areas, met Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem today. They also met External Affairs Minister Professor G.L Peiris.
Head of the delegation Eleanor Laing MP, said the visit was planned as a prelude to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka November.
She also expressed hope for Sri Lanka’s future and insisted that one cannot compare human rights in Britain to human rights in Sri Lanka as the island suffered 30 years of war and human rights issues in Sri Lanka are part of the aftermath of the war.
“There is a lot of hope for the future. We are very positive about Sri Lanka. I believe reconciliation is important. We should not rake back the past,” she said a select group of journalists this evening.
She also said that the elections in the North will be very important and she hopes foreign monitors will be invited to observe the election.
Meanwhile opposition MP Simon Danczuk, who has been pushing for justice over the murder of a British tourist in Tangalle in 2011, sounded optimistic that investigations and legal proceedings will progress.
He said that Minister Basil Rajapaksa had apologized over the incident in which British national Khuram Shaikh was killed and his girlfriend was raped.
The British MP said that Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem had said that the Attorney General’s Department was looking at the case.
“I am cautiously optimistic about the case progressing. I will continue to raise the issue in the British parliament,” he said.
He also said that he had no issues with British Prime Minister David Cameron attending the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka as long as he raises the Khuram Shaikh incident as well if there is no progress by then. (Colombo Gazette