Canada follows UK in not backing Sri Lankan bid to host 2011Commonwealth summit

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Port-of-Spain, Nov 28 (ANI): The Canadian Government has followed the United Kingdom in announcing that it will oppose Sri Lanka's bid to host the next summit of 53 Commonwealth countries in 2011.

"Canada will not be supporting Sri Lanka as the next host of the Commonwealth summit," Prime Minister's Office spokesman Dimitri Soudas said.

It's a sharp rebuke to the Asian country's handling of a brutal and bloody war with Tamil Tiger insurgents that left 7,000 civilians dead and 150,000 displaced, the Globe and Mail reports.

The measure will likely find favour with Tamil Canadian voters in the Greater Toronto Area; a vote-rich region the Conservatives must court to win a majority in the next election.

Sri Lanka had announced at the end of the last meeting of Commonwealth countries that it wanted to host the 2011 summit.

However, a senior government official said "we continue to be concerned with the situation in Sri Lanka."

The Canadian official also called on Sri Lanka to work harder to return to their homes those displaced by the conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

"Canada continues to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure full and unhindered humanitarian access to internally displaced populations. Canada strongly supports the early, safe and voluntary return of internally displaced populations to their home communities," the official said. (ANI)

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