3RD LEAD (Adds link to video of Rae's reaction)
Bob Rae denied entry to Sri Lanka - report
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 09:20 GMT]
Sri Lanka Wednesday denied entry to Bob Rae, a prominent Canadian politician outspoken in his criticism of Colombo’s military campaign and then Chair of the Forum of Federations, the constitutional NGO advising the Norwegian peace process during 2002 and 2003. Sri Lanka’s Immigration Commissioner P. B. Abeykoon said “intelligence reports” meant Mr. Rae should not to be admitted and was therefore detained when he arrived at Colombo airport and put on a leaving flight.
Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae
"We got some intelligence reports on this gentleman and the instructions were not to allow him into the country, so he is detained at the airport and he will be deported by the next available flight," Mr. Abeykoon told Reuters.
Sri Lanka's intelligence services deemed Mr. Rae's visit "not suitable" and former Ontario premier was forced to leave on another flight, AP said.
Mr. Rae said he was stopped on Tuesday night when he reached the immigration counter in the company of two Canadian High Commission officials.
"The government of Sri Lanka knew my views, and granted me a visa," he said in an emailed statement. "I have flown a very long way only to be told the door is firmly shut."
In April, Mr. Rae had called on Canada to be more outspoken in its criticism of Sri Lanka's recent offensive against the Tamil Tigers that left 20,000 Tamil civilians dead.
“The world can't just sit back and let this death and destruction happen,” he said in April as Sri Lankan artillery continued to kill and wound hundreds of Tamil civilians every day.
“This is a humanitarian disaster and must be met with a concerted response.”
Mr. Rae said in April Canada should be working with a group of like-minded countries to press for a complete ceasefire and a return to full-scale negotiations on the constitutional future of the country.
According to his office, his recommendations included that the LTTE had to abandon terrorism and that the government of Sri Lanka had to accept the need for a political response to the crisis rather than a simple military one.
Mr. Rae has advised and worked on federalism and constitutional matters in Sri Lanka, Sudan and Iraq.