Sri Lanka turns away Swedish foreign minister

April 28th, 2009 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Stockholm, April 28 (DPA) Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt Tuesday said he cancelled the trip he had planned to take to Sri Lanka along with his British and French counterparts after Colombo said it would not receive him.
Writing on his blog, Bildt said Sri Lanka had “not given any reason” for not accepting him. “No one seems to understand the reason for this very strange action. Everyone just shakes their heads.”

He, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had planned to visit Sri Lanka Wednesday in a bid to secure safety for civilians caught between government and rebel forces.

Miliband and Kouchner planned to carry out the mission, while he would take part in talks between the European Union and Russia in Luxembourg, Bildt said.

“To cancel the whole trip would not have not been responsible due to the serious humanitarian and political situation in Sri Lanka,” Bildt said.

Bildt said Sweden would recall its ambassador to Sri Lanka for consultations.

The EU Monday called for an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka to allow civilians to leave the combat zone.

Britain and France are the 27-member bloc’s two veto-holding permanent members of the UN Security Council. Sweden is set to take over the EU presidency in July.

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