The Sri Lankan government has conveyed its displeasure to the UK’s ruling Conservative Party for their election manifesto that refers to a two-state solution for the island nation over its decades-long conflict with the Tamil minority community.
The manifesto states that the party is proud of the peace-building and humanitarian efforts around the world, particularly in war-torn or divided societies, and of their record in helping to reduce global poverty.
“We will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability and justice across the world, and in current or former conflict zones such as Cyprus, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, where we maintain our support for a two-state solution,” the manifesto issued on November 24 said.
Taking objection to Sri Lanka’s mention in the manifesto, the country’s High Commissioner in London Manisha Gunasekera on November 27 conveyed the country’s displeasure over what she had termed a distortion in the Tory manifesto.
According to a statement by the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, Gunasekera told the Tories that the reference to Sri Lanka as a country which required a two-state solution was unacceptable.
She urged for action to suitably amend the manifesto to correctly reflect the Conservative Party’s position on Sri Lanka. Since the civil war ended in 2009 with the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, supremo of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Tamils have accused the then Sri Lankan dispensation of sexual violence and extrajudicial killings allegedly by Lankan security forces.
The 2.2-million Tamil minority accounts for a little more than 11 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population.
Interestingly, both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party are seeking the support of the large Tamil diaspora in the UK at the election, the Colombo Gazette reported.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party Paul Scully in a clarification later said that the Tory policy on Sri Lanka had not changed.
”The two-state line was intended to refer only to the Israeli-Palestine situation in the Middle East,” the Sri Lankan ministry release quoted Scully as saying.
The foreign ministry came under fire from local politicians for not countering the distortion in the manifesto.
They accused the Tories of trying to appease the large Tamil diaspora to win votes in the upcoming general elections. The general elections in the country are scheduled for December 12.