China slams US ‘meddling in Sri Lanka internal affairs’

Updated 12 February 2014
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China slams US ‘meddling in Sri Lanka internal affairs’

BEIJING: China’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday offered support for Sri Lanka after the United States said it would table a UN resolution against Colombo over its human rights record.
“China opposes some countries’ interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka under the pretext of human rights issues,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Sri Lankan counterpart G. L. Peiris in Beijing.
China backs the Sri Lankan government in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Wang said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
“We believe in the Sri Lankan people’s wisdom and capacity to handle their own affairs,” Wang added.
Sri Lanka this month rejected US criticism of its human rights record as “grossly disproportionate,” after a senior US official said Washington would table a UN resolution against the country.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, which finally crushed a 26-year rebellion by ethnic minority Tamil separatists in 2009, has rejected calls for an international inquiry into atrocities during the civil war.
China has increasingly tight ties with Sri Lanka, funding airports, roads, railways and ports, which has unsettled India, traditionally Sri Lanka’s closest economic partner.
The island of 21 million people just off India’s southern tip has become a front in the competition between the Asian giants China and India.


EU leaders’ decision on Brexit delay unlikely this week: Juncker

Updated 36 min 14 sec ago
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EU leaders’ decision on Brexit delay unlikely this week: Juncker

  • The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain

BERLIN: European Union leaders are unlikely to agree at a summit this week on a delay to Britain’s departure, and will probably have to meet again next week, the head of the bloc’s executive branch said Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to ask Brussels for a delay to Brexit, currently scheduled for March 29, ahead of the EU summit starting Thursday. Details remain unclear, but May’s troubles deepened when the speaker of the House of Commons ruled earlier this week that she can’t keep asking lawmakers to vote on the same divorce deal they have already rejected twice.

Britain’s political chaos is causing increasing exasperation among EU leaders. Asked by Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio what May would need to secure a delay this week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker replied that “she must bring approval of the negotiated deal and she must bring clear ideas on timing.”

“My impression is ... that this week at the European Council there will be no decision, but that we will probably have to meet again next week, because Mrs. May doesn’t have agreement to anything, either in her Cabinet or in Parliament,” Juncker added.

“As long as we don’t know what Britain could say yes to, we can’t reach a decision.”

A delay to Britain’s withdrawal would require the approval of all 27 remaining EU countries. Juncker said that “in all probability” Britain won’t leave on March 29, but underlined the EU’s insistence that it will not reopen the painstakingly negotiated withdrawal agreement that British lawmakers have snubbed.

“There will be no renegotiations, no new negotiations and no additional assurances on top of the additional assurances we have already given,” he said.

“We will keep talking to the British. We are not in a state of war with Britain, we are in a state of negotiations, but the negotiations are concluded.”