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Sri Lanka rejects Britain's special envoy

T V Sriram in Colombo | February 14, 2009 02:36 IST

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Sri Lanka [Images] on Friday rejected Britain's 'unilateral appointment' of a special envoy to focus on the humanitarian situation in the embattled north and help find a lasting political solution to the ethnic conflict, terming it an intrusion in the island's internal affairs.

Former British Defence Secretary Des Browne was appointed by British Premier Gordon Brown as his special envoy to Sri Lanka on Thursday. The Sri Lankan government, however, rejected his appointment, saying it was interference in its internal affairs.

"Having learnt of the appointment of a special envoy for Sri Lanka being made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Cabinet of Ministers at a meeting on Thursday presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, rejected this unilateral appointment, following a submission made by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

"The government of Sri Lanka categorically states that this appointment is in contravention of the basic principles governing international relations and the requirement for consultation and reciprocity," it said.

The statement said the Cabinet noted that neither proper procedure nor consultations had been undertaken by the British government, "prior to the said appointment, which are time honoured traditions in diplomatic practice."

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