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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:52, August 13, 2005
Backgrounder: Sri Lankan FM Lakshman Kadirgamar
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Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar died Saturday morning after being shot late Friday night.

Lakshman Kadirgamar was born on April 12, 1932. As a well known lawyer, Kadirgamar entered politics in 1994 and was immediately made the foreign minister.

He held the post from 1994 to date, barring a short period between 2001 and 2003.

Kadirgamar is a Tamil and a Christian, an unusual combination in Sri Lanka dominated by Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus.

He was educated in Trinity College, Kandy, and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Honor) Degree from the University of Ceylon in 1953. He also has a B.Lit. from Oxford University.

Kadirgamar had practiced law at the Ceylon Bar and in London until 1974, when he became a consultant to the International Labor Organization in Geneva.

Kadirgamar is a long-time supporter of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), now the ruling party of the country.

He was foreign minister in the SLFP government led by Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, mother of incumbent President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

After the defeat of the SLFP government in 2001, Kadirgamar became special adviser on foreign affairs to President Kumaratunga.

Despite being himself a Tamil, Kadirgamar strongly supported the government's policy of not negotiating with the Tamil Tigers insurgents in northern Sri Lanka.

In 2003 Kadirgamar was a candidate for the position of secretary-general of the Commonwealth, but was defeated by Don McKinnon of New Zealand.

Following the victory of the United People's Freedom Alliance in the April 2, 2004 Parliament elections, Kadirgamar became foreign minister again in the new cabinet.

Kadirgamar was in the forefront of Sri Lankan government's campaign for an international ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

As a result, he figured high on the Tamil Tigers' hit list and was provided with elite commando security.

Source: Xinhua

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