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Sri Lanka opposes EU human rights probe to renew GSP+ benefits

Sept 24, 2008 (LBO) - Sri Lanka has opposed a European Union probe into human rights in the island to see if it meets conditions required to renew a trade deal giving duty free access to European markets. Bogollagama sought the meeting with Ferrero-Waldner after learning of European Commission plans to conduct an investigation on Sri Lanka under its regulations governing the GSP scheme.

The statement quoted Bogollagama as saying the government's response to any proposed EU action on extending GSP+ will bear in mind "the country's national priorities and interests which are protection of the territorial integrity and fight against separatism, eradication of terrorism, restoring democracy and empowering the people."

It said Commissioner Waldner acknowledged that Sri Lanka has been compelled to take military measures to counter terrorism of the Tigers and outlined that their concern was primarily the safety of civilians.

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The EU investigation is "unnecessary and inappropriate", Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was quoted as saying in a government statement.


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