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'Bandwagon jumper' Bildt in Sri Lanka snub

AFP/The Local · 28 Apr 2009, 10:58

Published: 28 Apr 2009 10:58 GMT+02:00

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The surprise move scuttled Bildt's plans to join his British and French counterparts for talks with the Sri Lankan government about a possible ceasefire.

“Now those in Colombo have finally informed me that they don’t intend to accept me for the joint trip which [Britain’s] David Miliband, [France’s] Bernard Kouchner, and I have planned and announced,” Bildt wrote on his blog on Tuesday.

“The decision was given without any explanation whatsoever. And no one seems to understand what may lie behind this truly strange maneuver.”

As retribution for the diplomatic snub, Bildt added that he plans to recall Sweden’s chargé d’ affaires in Sri Lanka, Borje Mattsson, for consultations.

On his blog, Bildt said the recall was meant to send “a strong diplomatic signal” to the government in Colombo.

In Luxembourg attending a meeting of the EU foreign ministers, Bildt told reporters he didn't believe the rejection was permanent.

"I am not persona non grata because they say I am welcome at another time, but I am not intending to take up that invitation," he said.

A top Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said the government did not want Bildt to take part in a mission by his British and French counterparts.

"We invited the French foreign minister and then the British Foreign minister wanted to join him. We said OK. Then the Swedish minister also wanted to jump in on that bandwagon and we said no," the official said.

He said, however, that the visit by Miliband and Kouchner will go ahead as planned on Wednesday.

The trip was designed as a way support efforts by the United Nations (UN) by putting pressure on the government in Colombo to agree to a ceasefire which would allow civilians to leave the conflict area.

The United Nations estimates that up to 50,000 civilians remain the conflict zone, while the Sri Lankan government claims number is less than 20,000.

The government on Sunday rejected a ceasefire offer by Tamil Tiger rebels, prompting the three European foreign ministers to travel to Sri Lanka on short notice.

Story continues below…

On Monday, government forces agreed, however, to stop using heavy artillery or air strikes in fighting the rebels.

Despite being denied a visa to travel to Sri Lanka, Bildt said he thought it best that Miliband and Kouchner make the trip without him, citing the “serious humanitarian and political situation” there.

Bildt said he plans instead to travel to Tromsö, Norway for a meeting of the Arctic Council – a meeting he had originally planned to attend before the Sri Lanka mission had been announced.

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Your comments about this article

11:55 April 28, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
As I had mentioned in yesterday's arcticle. Here is a clear example of the way Sri Lanka plays its politics. Just to scared that the truth will come out.
12:35 April 28, 2009 by Bestworld
Scandinavin countries have been the peace monitors in SL for few years. During that time they have very well recorded the human riots violations carried out by the state and Sweden is very well aware of what might be happening in that conflict rooted country. The fear of those issues might be highlighted during the dialogue had undoubtfully stopped Bildt's entry to SL.
12:38 April 28, 2009 by Suren
As a Sri Lankan who has experianced LTTE terrorism since my chilhood I don't want anyone to come to negociate a ceasefire. How come UK, US and other someone wanna negotiate a ceasefire with a terror group when they themselves talk about war against terror?

If someone wanna know the truth about how the IDPs are being taken care of by the Sri Lanka government, ask U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes who visited the IDP camps yesterday.

If someone wanna know the truth about LTTE ask any IDP who escaped from them who were held as a human shield by the LTTE.
12:55 April 28, 2009 by casinoed
The foreign ministers of two countries with permanent seats on the UNSC are attending, what could Carl Bildt possibly offer that these two can't?

What can Sweden threaten the Sri Lankan Govt. with for failure to honour any ceasefire? Recal the consul. So what. Restrict the export of flat-pack furniture? Scary stuff.

Sweden has to accept that it's place in the world, and in the minds of just about everybody who is not Swedish, is irrelevant. Its policy of neutrality has deprived the country of any real clout in international affairs. The Sri Lankan Govt. rightly or wrongly has proven that today.
13:58 April 28, 2009 by Gower76
Why was Bandwagon Bildt going anyway? Could have been to do with Sweden's imminent takeover of the EU presidency, I guess.
14:31 April 28, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Bestworld: Exactly, there is too much that can be exposed. And the SL government surely does not want that.

Suren: Mr.Holmes has not been given full access to the IDP's and still is uncertain on the credibility of the people he has spoken to. (www.bbc.com). Of course, the general answer is that the BBC is biased towards the LTTE:

I think Bildt would have contributed a lot with his sense of neutrality, which is badly needed.

By the way, if anyone wants to know about the Sri Lankan government, ask any Sri Lankan who has lost a family member or relative(which is not hard to find!) to state terrorism.
14:59 April 28, 2009 by khan123
Why world leaders show more interests when the SL government is close to end this brutal war? LTTE killed people using barbarian methods, nobody said anything. They allowed LTTE supporters to raise money (Millions of dollars) for LTTE. LTTE took advantages from all the ceasefire occasions to get strong. None of any other terrorist organizations have things like LTTE. Finally, we have a government that has a backbone to face this brutal terrorist group. If we are racists how come Tamils live all over the country and none of Sinhalese live north today. (They all were killed by LTTE) Tamils are not the only minority group in Sri Lanka. Muslims and others too. Sri Lanka would not deny this minister's visit without a reasonable reason. We learned from the past that we cannot trust some countries and humanitarian agencies as they helped this brutal group when they came saying they wanted to help innocent civilians.
15:09 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
I wrote this on an older SL news thread:

I think that the SLn government has done too little too late. I was curious to know why the LTTE came into existence in the first place. Most of the rebel groups form either due to illiteracy and poverty and/or due to discrimination. According to wikipedia Sri Lankan civil war started soon after the British left SL and thereafter blown out of proportion due to the Bandaranaike's declaration of the "Sinhala Only Act" language policy. I am a bit shocked to know such an act even existed. I wonder if Sinhalese civilians supported Tamils at that time to ban such an act. If not I wonder how would a Sinhalese feel if he/she were forced to speak only Swedish in Sweden and follow only Swedish tradition and culture...... and if that feels bad it would feel even worst to be forced to follow some other tradition in your own country. Anyways as the trust in the SLn government went down a rebellion group LTTE was formed.
15:09 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
Unfortunately LTTE took the wrong foot forward and used force just the way the government did and what's pity is that both of them had a fine and successful example of Gandhi to learn from but they did not. BBC claims so far 70,000 have died in this war. It's anybody's guess how many of these 70,000 are Tamils, Sinhalese, military and LTTE.

I wonder if the government likes to protect the innocent Tamil civilians then would they do air attacks on the trapped civilians? I wonder in how many countries were the civilians killed by there own government? And above all if the government is completely impartial towards its civilians (which I hope it is) then why wouldn't they allow foreign journalist's to cover the conflict independently?
15:10 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
Moreover why aren't the foreign media even allowed to enter the country. Today they even stopped Bildt to enter SL I wonder why? In the past 2 decades almost all conflicts were covered live by the media be it the gulf war, the kargil war in India, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq so why not cover the SL "internal" civil war.

Now that SL has not accepted any political and media intervention in there internal conflict I wonder if they will accept humanitarian aids from foreign countries or are they able enough to provide it from there own pockets?

A military "solution" is never a solution. The solution has to come through dialogues, understanding and trust in each other. And yes most important of all giving equal rights to Tamils and other minorities.
15:15 April 28, 2009 by Tammybonny
well.....this guy try trying very hard to get Nobel price......LTTE is a terrorist organization and killed so many innocent people for many years...asked any person who has been victim of terror...I think Sri Lanka is going right way to end this terrorism..
15:30 April 28, 2009 by khan123
I want to say these things to fxrider who I believe is a LTTE supporter.

You are not the only minority group in Sri Lanka, Muslims and others too. And also Tamils live all over the country and none of Sinhalese live in North today. They all were killed. If Sinhalese are racists how come your people live in Colombo and other areas without any problems?

More than 72M Tamils are in India. They do not have a separate country and India's national language is Hindi. But Sri Lanka use Both Sinhala and Tamil as national languages. Pls do not deny. You know you are treated better in Sri Lanka than India as we do not believe cast systems. The only problem we have is poverty. It is common for you and me both regardless of our ethnicity. Finally, who killed Tamil leaders? LTTE killed all the Tamil leaders. What are you saying about these murders? What are you saying about suicidal attacks which killed thousands of innocent people?
16:12 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
Khan123 if you dig into my previous posts you will know that I am not SLn neither were my ancestors and I have never been to SL and I dont understand nor speak any of SLn languages. And I am not Tamil. If you read my most recent post I clearly stated what LTTE did is NOT CORRECT. Me being an LTTE supporter is thus out of question.

India has a unique system. As you may know in India each state has a local language and a local state government. Thus all communities get to have there say in the local region at the same time national government helps local governments to stay together as one in spite of cultural differences. I am not sure how it is in SL. Its good if SLns do not believe in cast system, hopefully they will overcome the other differences and learn to live with brotherhood. My opinion on murders is its a barbaric act no matter who does it.
16:13 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
So khan123 may I take the liberty to ask you something?

Do you think that each individual living in SL is equal and if so are you looking forward for a tamil srilankan to be the president of SL in the next election?
16:32 April 28, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Fxrider, you have put it very well. At least you did high light some of the areas of questionability.

There still is descrimination at the highest level. And all this is done in the name of nation security and various other covers. For a Sri Lankan to have a tamil PM, is similar to asking for the world to stop turning.

The LTTE is, what was created due to the action of the SL Government. I am not an LTTE supporter. But an India who lived in Colombo. I have personally been haressed by the police. Even though I lived in an affluent area and my dad was a very senior exe in a foreign bank. There is inherent evil in their system and for that to be wiped off, they need a totally new breed of thinker. That too, cannot be seen in the near future.

In Sri Lanka when a gangster or a drug lord dies, it is the minister who are at his funerals to give praise. That is SL for all of you!
19:16 April 28, 2009 by khan123
Fxrider, I want to believe you but I still think you have some connection to this issue. Anyway, I am not saying each individual living in SL is equal. Not in Sri Lanka. Not in any where else. I am living in a Western country and I am not treated equally in the society. We still have white and black differences. People do not show it as many of Whites are very civilized people. But many of them carry this inside. But we have equal rights and government protects us. This is the same story happening in Sri Lanka. Is it possible for a colored person to become a president in your counrty? SL president is chosen by an election. However, there was a chance for Luxman Kadirgamen to become a PM if Tigers did not kill him. People love him. Some Tamils and Muslims are very rich in Colombo. Ranjit is right. Ministers go to funerals to rich and powerful people regardless of their characters or ethnicity. This is the story in all South Asia.
23:08 April 28, 2009 by dave123
As a Sri Lankan, I find it unfair that Mr. Bildt tries to force his way into Sri Lankan politics like this. The vast majority of Sri Lankans (tamils, singhalese, muslims) are peace loving people and want the Tamil Tigers to be defeated once and for all. Mr. Bildt never intervened like this when the Tamil Tigers killed innocent tamils, carried out ethnic cleansing or hacked to death muslim villagers. It is frankly quite arrogant of Mr. Bildt to jump on the bandwagon like this. You cannot try to get a Nobel Peace Prize by pretending to be interested in the people of Sri Lanka only when the media is focusing on the country. We don't want people like this interfering, it will only make a difficult situation worse.
23:29 April 28, 2009 by tartar
The war in SL has gone on for 30 years, and nobody bothered to poke their nose in this. But thanks to the propagandas done by the LTTE supporter who are painting such a drastic and horrific picture to those who are unaware of the case, people think that the People in SL are being tortured by the SL Government.
23:29 April 28, 2009 by tartar
Nobody invited Sweden's FM to come for a visit. An invitation was only extended towards France and UK since there are high demonstrations done in these 2 countries.

SL allowed Norway to be the mediator, but what happened in the end, the peace talk broke into a more intensive war.

LTTE have done their share of violence.... they killed so many Tamilians just because they had personal grudges nothing political just personal.

I have Tamil friends whose children were forced to become cadres for the LTTE and when the parents protested, they attacked them.

Minority discrimination is every where. And I think it is ignorant for one to assume that SL is an exception. The lay man in SL regardless whether they are Tamils or Singhalese have no anger or hatred against each other, it is this FALSE media propaganda that creates this type of mess.
23:29 April 28, 2009 by tartar
Sri Lanka is an independent country, they have all the right to deal with the rebels and terrorist in their country. Just like USA, Israel and UK.... So the international committee should try to stop having double standards and support SL with their providing aid to the Internally displaced people since all the money collected by Tamils in Europe are going to the LTTE to rejuvinate their cadres rather than helping the innocent people.

This is Sri Lanka's war against terrorism.... if they are wrong doers so are USA and Israel.....
00:00 April 29, 2009 by tartar
According to another Asian News website the SL Embassy in Stockholm has not received any application from the FM... so the question is how can Bildt be denied visa when he has supposedly not applied for one???

According to the news he was extended an invitation to visit SL in May.

Allegation of the denial of entry visa to Swedish FM “baseless” – Sri Lanka

00:15 April 29, 2009 by double concerto
Bildt should stop at home and try to do something about what looks like the beginnings of a civil war in his own country. Seems to be heading that way sooner or later with no go areas for police and firemen and Swedes in general in Swedens larger cities. Incredible state of affairs about which he seems to be blind or does not care about!!!
01:53 April 29, 2009 by Aravinda
Demanding Sri Lankan government to agree to a ceasefire right now is a joke, for three reasons.

1. LTTE is now a dead force (If it still not, it will be soon). No one will agree to sign a ceasefire with a party that is at the verge of the defeat. Any attempt to pressure Sri Lanka to agree to a ceasefire will therefore be rightfully considered as an attempt to throw a life line to dying Tigers.

2. Any sane government will not agree to a ceasefire with a party like LTTE. They have proven more than once that a ceasefire to them is a breathing space to regroup, re-arm and revisit their terror tactics to cause more civilian deaths. This has happened in the past and there is no reason to believe it will not happen in the future.

Contd (see next post).
01:53 April 29, 2009 by Aravinda
3. The last effective weapon (shield) in LTTE's hand right now is the civilians. If not for the civilians they hold at gun point, the Sri Lankan forces would have finished them off at least two months ago. As such, it is common sense that LTTE will never let these people go. Sri Lankan forces, in fact, have declared two unilateral ceasefires during this year (which promptly breached by LTTE) and the number of people who escaped (yes, they have to escape since LTTE will not let them go at their will) during those is far far less than the number of people who escaped when LTTE is on their knees defending their installations.

As such, UN or any other entity demanding a ceasefire right now is a joke. If LTTE has not released the trapped civilians during the last TWO ceasefires, there is no reason to DREAM they will release them during a THIRD ceasefire.

06:19 April 29, 2009 by rezni
Colombo: Sri Lanka today rejected the accusation by the Swedish Foreign Minister that he was denied entry.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry says "at no instance did the Sri Lanka Government deny entry to Minister Bildt. In fact, an invitation had been extended by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, to his Swedish counterpart to visit Sri Lanka in early May".

Sri Lanka said when the visit by Britain and France , was discussed with Sri Lankan officials both at presidential and ministerial levels, there was no indication of the participation of the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

"In addition, there is an EU-TROIKA visit scheduled to take place from 12 – 13 May 2009 where Sweden would be represented. It was in these circumstances that Sri Lanka requested that the visit of the Swedish Foreign Minister be undertaken in early May, which was communicated to the Swedish Foreign Ministry," the statement said.

Copyright © 2000, 2009 by LankaPage.com (LLC) :
08:33 April 29, 2009 by Kicha
The genocide intent of the Sri Lanka government is proved by-

please read the online book http://www.pagegangster.com/p/2Lweq/

I feel really sick when people talk about issue that they never experienced. I have experienced lot and I'm not against sinhala people but I am against the people who kill innocent people.
08:47 April 29, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Well said Kicha! People seem to be over looking the real problem.
08:49 April 29, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Sri Lankan government has this amazing way of rejecting facts. When one of the ex LTTEers Karuna was caught in london, it transpired that it was the SL government itself that has prepared his false identity and sent him to the UK. They denied it. And now, the man is a key minister in the present government.

When confronted with the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas was brought up it was rejected.

(Continued...next post)
08:50 April 29, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Here again, I am not at any point comparing the Government with the Tigers. One is a terror outfit. They are called a terror out fit because they terrorise the people to have their way. And that is their character. On the other hand, the government is not supposed to be one. But their behavior is that of a terror outfit. Not towards the tamils, but towards every Sri Lankan. A key journalist was gunned down recently, and many others previously. For goodness sake, these people are the servants of the state. They are put there to serve the people. Not the other way around!

To accuse Bildt having his eyes on the Nobel Price is a cheap shot. The swedes by nature are very non-confrontational and nuetral in most things. We know that from WW2. A man like him, could have done more good to the country than damage and would help build some credibility with the EU. Right now, the EU looks at SL as a failed state. The LTTE have won there.

(Continued...next post)
08:50 April 29, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Wiping the LTTE off will not solve anything. But wiping the 'cause' will be monumental. And that is where the root of the problem lies.

Note: The Sri Lankan Minister LK was gunned down by the LTTE??? That is an assumption. There is no proof of that. The 2 suspects, have long been released. Typical! The minister in concern was not allowed to be the PM simply because he was a Tamil. The issues brought up within the party itself was that with threats to break up if he is made PM. This was said by none other than him. For the record: His family and son (especially) are close friends of mine.
09:19 April 29, 2009 by Antonson
Sri Lanka clearly shows that they are trying to hide some thing from the world. Otherwise why the heck they need to reject our FM visit. EU should give a strong warning and sweden should stop all its developing programme such as SIDA and recall its ambassidor as it announced to give a strong warning to Sri Lanka.
09:21 April 29, 2009 by Tammybonny
Well Mr Ranjit T Edward as you said That "The Swedes by nature are very non-confrontational and neutral in most things. We know that from WW2."

well have you been to Sweden or live here to come up with above..

its bit 60years since the WW2 and for your information that Sweden banks been helping Nazis to over write there credits which came in to the lime light few months ago..

this guy is really after the Nobel prize as he couldn't get it from the Bosnian war..

as British citizen and now living in Sweden as I know for a fact that brits are more involved in this war for many years than Sweden so why all of sudden this guy trying to jump in to the bandwagon...only to collect some points for the CV...
10:37 April 29, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Hej Hej tammybonny! Jag bor i Gällstad och jag vet vad jag pratar om...yes I did hear about the Swedes helping the Nazi's. Having said that, we also know the Swedes at large did not take a stand on anything..like they always do.

Yes, the Brits are involved in it, and it is very heartening to see that they are concerned for the civilians, But you also know that the SL government has been having isssues with the UK administration on the Tamil issue for a long time. This is where I see a person in the middle helps.

As for him going after the Nobel peace prize. We will never know that. And if that be the case, his change is only if a solution is brought about to the issue. Assuming he does so, and gets the medal...good for him and far better for the victims. Right?
08:51 April 30, 2009 by fxrider
Nicely framed Ranjit. We shouldn't worry weather Bildt should get a nobel or not, but instead hope for SL to get back to normality. So in case the discussion here continues lets start reasoning for a solution instead of blame game for it would never help anyone. Remember we all discussing on this forum get no benefit from it so lets try do it in a way better than politicians.
12:09 April 30, 2009 by Ogion
Reasoning for a solution is quite simple. The only question you need to think about is "what will I teach my kids?". This is the single most important question in solving the racisim or hate problems anywhere in the world. Teaching the kids of sri lanka not to hate eachother because of ethnicity is the only way forward. For me living in sweden this will not be a problem. But how to go about it in Sri Lanka?
12:14 April 30, 2009 by Ogion
That being said I am leaning towards thinking that the rejection of Bildt visit is more of an reprimand towards the US. The man has lately been barking at anything Washington points its finger at. (I wonder why?). And lately Washington has been raising its finger against the SLGOV. (While sending 17.000 more troops to Afganistan...lol).

I think it would have been more difficult to reprimand the Master for the SLGOV but who cares about a kneedog who so willfully stepped up to the occasion?
12:28 April 30, 2009 by Ogion
More downtalking...

Ranjit said about Carl B...

"...A man like him, could have done more good to the country than damage and would help build some credibility with the EU."

Right after I had voted for him the last time modreraterna cameto power. He said in "God morgon Sverige" that:

"I know exactly how it is to be a worker in Sweden because I once worked in a supermarket for 2 weeks".

That tells me all I want to know about a man like him.
15:25 April 30, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
Fxrider, I do agree with you. And as you will see the solution is rather simple. Like in most cases. But politics will never allow that. Ogion very correctly put it...'what will I teach my kid?' The answer to that too, is rather simple. The truth! It is that what is being hidden in SL. The last Sri Lankan King was a Tamil. Still, he is referred to as a great Sinhala king of the country, and even his name has been changed to a sinhalese format. The history books lie about events of the past. And instill how the 'bad' tamils were always beaten away by the 'valient' sinhalese'. Is that not wrong conditioning for kids??? What one needs to do is to make descrimination of race and colour in SL a criminal offence or move towards that.
16:54 April 30, 2009 by Ogion
What ever happened more than a 100 years ago is interesting but not relevant anymore other than to learn from. What really took place in those days we will never know for sure.

We got to let those things go and see eachother for what we are. People with different customs that does not neccessarily clash. We all love our children and family and want the best for them. No matter who was king or not a hundred or a thousand years ago we got to live with eachother today. No?

The truth is nobody is worth any more than anybody else. Everybody man, woman and child deserves respect and a happy life. Like Jesus said "treat others as you wish others would treat you". (I am a Buddhist but this is a good rule).

The difficulty is for those people who have lost a dear one in this struggle to see past their grief and anger and not let those feelings get in the way of how they bring up their kids.

00:13 May 7, 2009 by Kicha
Cluster bombs used on highly congested areas

Heavy battle reported throughout the day in the areas between Mullivaikkal West and Irraddaivaikkal. Mullivaikkal hospital is to be shifted. Mullivaikkal West area was bombarded from air, sea and land. Heavy shelling continues in that area. Sri Lankan Army used cluster bombs also in the congested area.

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