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Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when the Prime Minster has last held a conversation with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on the political situation in that country.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

The Prime Minister most recently wrote to President Sirisena ahead of the Commonwealth Summit earlier this year, on issues including human rights and community relations in Sri Lanka.

I issued statements on 26 and 29 October, and on 9 November, setting out our concerns at recent political developments in Sri Lanka and calling for due political process to be upheld. It is vital that all sides refrain from violence and make efforts to resolve the situation peacefully and as soon as possible. Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka continues to meet regularly with all political parties, and has expressed our concern at the behaviour of some MPs in disrupting Parliamentary proceedings. We have stressed the importance of MPs allowing Parliament to do its job.

I last visited Sri Lanka in October, before the current crisis, where I met Foreign Minister Marapana and other Ministers. We discussed the range of our bilateral interests and I urged more progress on human rights and reconciliation. I also met the leader of the Tamil National Alliance, as well as human rights and civil society activists. I have continued to urge the Sri Lankan government to fully implement its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council. I plan to visit Sri Lanka in 2019.

I have received regular representations from the Tamil community on a range of their interests and concerns. I last met with the APPG for Tamil's including some representatives from the Tamil community on 3 December to discuss the current political situation. Foreign Office staff also regularly meet with Tamil representatives, both in Sri Lanka and the UK.

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