Sri Lanka opposes Commonwealth’s suspension of Pakistan

Nov 23, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Friday strongly objected to the Commonwealth’s decision to suspend emergency-ruled Pakistan despite having earlier supported the move. President Mahinda Rajapakse expressed “strong objections of Sri Lanka at the decision taken to suspend Pakistan from membership of the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” his office said in a statement here.

Rajapakse, who is attending the summit in the Ugandan capital Kampala, said due consideration should be given to the changes that were taking place in Pakistan before suspending, the statement said.

Pakistan is a key supplier of small arms to Sri Lankan security forces battling Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lanka’s opposition to the suspension came after Colombo earlier agreed to set a 10-day deadline for Islamabad to repeal emergency provisions, and among other things, fully restore the constitution — neither of which have happened.

Sri Lankan officials said that its representatives may not have been able to resist the suspension by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which was attended by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollegama.

Commonwealth Secret