Nov 15, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the Commonwealth should not be a judgmental or punitive body at a meeting of heads of governments of member countries in Colombo. The Commonwealth meet had been clouded over war crimes allegations against Colombo over the last stages of a civil war which ended in 2009, with heads of states of Canada, India and Mauritius staying away.
“For the Commonwealth to be relevant it must respond sensitively to the needs of its people and should not be turn into a punitive or judgmental body,” Rajapaksa said.
“It should collectively guard against bilateral agendas being introduced into the organization.”
President Rajapaksa said terrorist killings ended in 2009 and the country now had peace and tranquility.
The country was investing heavily in reconstruction, he said.
The commonwealth is made up countries belonging to the former British Empire. Britain’s Prince Charles, standing in for his mother Queen Elizabeth declared the meeting open.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to meet President Rajapaksa, later in the day. Cameron had been under pressure to boycott the Colombo meet.