Lanka does not want the Queen sacked

By Chandani Kirinde

Responding to British media reports that Sri Lanka had called on the British people to consider the sacking of the Queen, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has declared that it is not the Government’s official position that the British monarchy should be abolished.

The minister made the position clear to British High Commissioner Peter Hayes during an informal meeting on Thursday. British media reports last week criticized Sri Lanka for suggesting a change in the monarchy.

They said that during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, a request had been made that UK “must consider holding a referendum on the desirability or otherwise of a written constitution, preferably republic.”

The reports had said that the references were included in the UNHRC report at the request of Sri Lanka’s Geneva UN envoy Dayan Jayatilleke. A British High Commission spokesman confirmed to The Sunday Times that the Foreign Minister had set the record right. “He wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding. There is no misunderstanding,” he said.

The Sri Lanka diplomatic mission in Geneva, the only one that runs a separate “news room” disseminating Government information, denials and clarifications on various issues said in its official website that Ambassador Jayatilleke did not call for an abolition of the monarchy.

However, “what Sri Lanka did was to suggest that the UK ‘consider’ the holding of a referendum on the ‘desirability or otherwise’ of promulgating a written constitution, preferably Republican, with a Bill of Rights.”

“There was no mention whatsoever of a suggestion of the removal of the monarchy, still less the sacking of the Queen,” the web site claimed.

“Minister Bogollagama’s assurance to the British envoy sets the government’s position right. There is no official move to initiate any move with regard to the British monarchy. That is a matter for the British people,” a Foreign Ministry source said.

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