Tuesday, November 10, 2009

EU says no move to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka

The European Union (EU) says there is no move to impose any form of sanctions on Sri Lanka over alleged human rights abuses but on the contrary the EU is keen to maintain constructive dialogue with the Sri Lankan authorities.

Dismissing reports that a travel ban might be imposed on Sri Lankan military and other government officials from visiting EU countries, a top EU official in Brussels speaking to Daily Mirror online on the condition of anonymity said there is no discussion underway in the EU to that effect.

The EU official asserted that what is at stake today is whether the preferential trade scheme known as GSP plus will be renewed or not adding that even if it is not renewed, this would mean that Sri Lanka would still fall under GSP -- like many other countries.

“Imposing a travel ban EU-wise would legally necessitate a council decision. The European Commission is keen to maintain a constructive dialogue and engagement with the Sri Lankan authorities. All these point out that we are not in a logic of sanctions, which would be the more general context in the case of a travel ban,” the EU official told Daily Mirror.

Just last week Sri Lanka delivered its formal response to a European Union probe that found it in breach of international human rights laws and said it was hopeful of retaining a lucrative trade concession with the bloc.

"We will be setting out to clarify the points they have raised," Reuters last week qouted Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe as saying. "We are continuing the dialogue with the EU and we are hopeful that finally that GSP+ is granted."

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