EU-Lanka discuss implementation of 27 int’l conventions

The European Union mission in Colombo yesterday said that discussions were continuing with the government of Sri Lanka in respect of implementation of 27 International Conventions entered into by Sri Lanka.

The EU was responding to a statement issued by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran denouncing proposed policy and legal framework relating to the planned Counter Terrorism Act (CTA).

Asked whether EU would take up the issue with the government as it had specifically called for bringing in new legislation in place of PTA ahead of the resumption of GSP plus facility to Sri Lanka, Colombo based Counsellor Paul Godfrey said:

“We remain in discussion with the Government of Sri Lanka about the progressive implementation of the 27 international conventions that successive governments have signed and ratified. These discussions will continue as part of an agreed monitoring mechanism, if the European Parliament and the Council of the Member States agree to the recommendation by the European Commission to approve the application made by the Government of Sri Lanka to the GSP Plus.’

The EU, in a letter dated April 7 addressed to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that they expected the Government to table legislation to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act and amend the Code of Criminal Procedure Act (CCPA), ensuring their full compliance with international standards, prior to the decision on GSP Plus foreseen for mid-May.

Counsellor Paul Godfrey recently told The Island that objections could be raised either in Parliament or the European Council of Ministers against the resumption of Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) plus concession to Sri Lanka until May 15, 2017.

The official was responding to a query whether Sri Lanka could be sure of the GSP plus facility in May or June in the wake of the European Parliament overwhelmingly defeating a motion against the resumption of the facility two weeks ago.

Sri Lanka won the vote in Brussels with 436 voting against the motion, 119 for and 22 abstaining.(SF)

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