Sri Lanka's honorary consul-general in Wellington, Aruna Abeygoonesekera, has congratulated the Maori Party for blocking a parliamentary motion even though the Maori Party leans towards the Tamil Tigers.

A motion moved by Progressives leader Jim Anderton called on both Sri Lankan Government forces and the Tamil Tigers to show restraint in the present conflict so that civilians could escape from danger.

But the motion was blocked by Maori MP Te Ururoa Flavell because his party believes it is the Sri Lankan Government that should show restraint in its long fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Mr Abeygoonesekera wrote to Mr Flavell saying he applauded his stance. But the reason he was happy with Mr Flavell was that the Maori party had blocked a motion which, he said, gave a terrorist group equal status to the Sri Lankan Government.

Mr Flavell said Mr Abeygoonesekera had visited him at Parliament to personally thank him.

"He said his Government felt the wording was a slight on the Sri Lankan Government."

Meanwhile, about 40 protesters turned out at Parliament yesterday calling for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

- Staff reporter and NZPA