Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said he decided against attending today`s much awaited opening session of the Development Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels, on medical advice.
`I was very much looking forward to the meeting but I got a bad bout of flu and the doctors advised me against taking long distance flights` Minister Samarasinghe said.
`We have been maintaining an excellent dialogue with both the EU Commission and the EU parliament. We value this dialogue and intend on strengthening it in the future` the Minister said.
He dismissed reports that the EU Development Affairs Committee`s invitation for independent rights groups to make representations at the session had anything to do with his own decision to keep away from the meeting.
The Human Rights Minister said the government did not see any `sinister agenda` behind the EU move to invite foreign human rights groups and lobbyists to make representations at the Development Affairs Committee meeting.
The Minister also said, as reported in yesterday`s Daily Mirror, a delegation headed by Sri Lanka`s ambassador in Vienna Aruni Wijewardena and comprising one official each from the Attorney General`s Department, Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) and the Ministry of Disaster Management would attend today`s meeting in Brussels.