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President Mahinda Rajapaksa To Address Oxford Union December 2nd

Nov 27, 2010 10:36:27 PM - thesundayleader.lk
Its Official. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be leaving Sri Lanka on
Monday night, bound for the United Kingdom. He is scheduled to address the
Oxford Union Society on December 2nd, the same day that the famous explorer
Sir Ranulph Fiennes will also address the Union.

President Rajapaksa's visit to the UK - he departs after finishing his
duties with the Prime Minister of Pakistan who is now visiting the island -
sends a strong signal to the Tamil diaspora in the United Kingdom that the
President of Sri Lanka is hardly anxious about threats to have him arrested
whilst in the UK, using the global jurisdiction laws in Britain. Sources
close to the Presidential Secretariat confirmed the visit, saying the
President would be away for six days and is being accompanied by close aide
Sajin Vaas Gunawardena. There was no confirmation from the British Foreign
Office as to whether the President will be given an appointment to see David
Cameron the British Prime Minister. It is thought it unlikely that President
Rajapaksa will agree to meet either William Hague or Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg, due to protocol procedures.

The British laws have met with growing controversy and the Foreign Secretary
(Minister) William Hague has promised to have the laws changed. Israel
objected strongly to the laxity of those laws which meant that the deputy
Israeli Prime Minister and its Opposition Leader cancelled their planned
visits to Britain fearing arrest. The laws were used most famously when Mrs
Thatcher was in office, against Chilean strongman, General Augusto Pinochet,
the 30th President of Chile. He was arrested and held under house arrest on
charges of crimes against humanity, before being released by then Home
Secretary, Jack Straw on health grounds without being charged. Gneral
Pinochet was said to have been allowed to leave thanks largely to the close
rapport he had with Mrs Thatcher and due to the strategic importance of
Chilean support during the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina.
During his house arrest Mrs Thatcher visited him in Surrey on more than one
occaision to have tea with him. (FS)