Australia urges Sri Lanka to uphold democratic principles

ECONOMYNEXT – Australia has urged Sri Lanka’s government to uphold democratic principles, saying it was concerned over recent developments, referring to President Maithripala’s Sirisena’s sacking of the prime minister and postponing parliament.

The Australian reaction comes in the wake of calls by other governments like the United States and United Kingdon and also the European Union, all major markets for Sri Lankan exports, to reconvene parliament immediately.

The Australian expression of alarm about the deepening political crisis in Sri Lanka was sounded by Foreign Minister Marise Payne who warned that "democratic principles must be upheld in the country".

Payne said Australia was concerned about the developments in Sri Lanka, and urged all parties to refrain from violence.

She did not directly criticise Sirisena, but made it clear Australia was deeply uneasy about the way Wickremesinghe was removed, report said.

"It is important that issues be addressed expeditiously through Parliament and that democratic principles and freedoms are upheld," Senator Payne said in a statement. "Australia urges all parties to respect the democratic will of the people of Sri Lanka, as exercised through their elected representatives."

Earlier the UK Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field said he was concerned by ongoing political developments in Sri Lanka and was following the fast-moving situation closely.

“I call upon all parties to uphold the constitution and due political and legal process. I urge President Sirisena, in consultation with the Speaker, to reconvene the parliament immediately in order to give the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people their voice at this time.”

A statement by the EU spokesperson in Brussels said the sudden deterioration of the situation in Sri Lanka over the weekend puts the country at risk of instability and unrest.

“Along with other key international partners of Sri Lanka, the Ambassador of the European Union met with the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, to express our expectation that a solution respectful of the country’s constitution would be found quickly.

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"To this end, it is important that the President allows the immediate reconvening of the Parliament so that the elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people can fulfil their duties.”

The United States has also called for parliament to be reconvened.

"We call on the president, in consultation with the speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfil their responsibilities to affirm who will lead their government," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Canada has also said it is concerned by the political situation in Sri Lanka, according to a statement from Global Affairs Canada, its foreign affairs agency.

 “We reiterate our call for all parties to refrain from violence and respect due process and the rule of law. Canada calls on President Maithripala Sirisena to immediately reconvene Parliament and rescind the decision to prorogue. The people of Sri Lanka deserve transparency and accountability.

“The Parliament of Sri Lanka—whose representatives have been duly elected by the people of Sri Lanka—must be afforded their constitutional responsibility to determine Sri Lanka’s prime minister,” it said.
(COLOMBO, 01 November, 2018)
 

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