Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris held discussions with his counterpart from Sierra Leone Samura Kamara and also Minister of Foreign Affairs of Botswana Phandu Skeleman, at two separate meetings on the margins of the UNGA sessions in New York.

Minister Peiris outlined the progress made in the country following the end of the conflict, and observed that the constant and disproportionate focus on Sri Lanka by a small section of the international community, particularly through multilateral fora is unfair and unwarranted. The Minister pointed out that no other country, which had undergone a conflict situation has been subjected to such heavy pressure in addressing all the challenges within a short time span of four years. The Minister observed there were political motives behind this agenda and regretted that it has largely been driven by diaspora influence, rather than by any principled position. He added that an overwhelming majority of countries did not endorse this selective attitude towards Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister of Barbados looks forward to attending Colombo CHOGM

During an interaction with External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris on the margins of the UNGA sessions in New York, Foreign Minister of Barbados Maxine McClean confirmed that the Prime Minister of Barbados will participate at CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka. Welcoming the Barbados delegation, Minister G.L. Peiris noted that the programme for CHOGM has been arranged in a manner to enable participants to experience other parts of the country. In this context he explained that the Commonwealth Youth Forum and the meeting between Business leaders and Heads of Government are being held in Hambantota in a bid to take the Commonwealth to the people. Explaining the Government’s vision towards creating an aviation, shipping and knowledge hub in Sri Lanka, Minister Peiris added that Hambantota presented much potential in this regard given the newly opened international airport and deep water port.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris met UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltmanat in two separate meetings on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly today, in New York.

At these meetings welcoming the observation by the UN officials that the Northern Provincial Council Elections having attracted an impressive voter turn-out, and being free and fair, Minister Peiris stated that holding it after a lapse of 24 years itself is a triumph. He said that the TNA is now called upon to discharge their responsibilities to the voters. The Minister recalled that some of the references in the TNA manifesto linked to sensitive political issues were unfortunate and underscored that the need of the hour is to exercise restraint and move towards reconciliation. He added that glorification through TNA statements of a terrorist leader who has been condemned worldwide for atrocities against humanity would not augur well to begin this journey of governance. He also said that the government is prepared to work with the newly elected Council and the political processes have now fully commenced.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signed a Joint Statement on “No First Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space” on the margins of the UNGA Sessions in New York on 27th September. The Joint Statement, while noting the significance of Outer Space activities for social, economic, scientific and technological development of states, as well as its role in maintaining national and global security, declares that all possible efforts will be made to prevent Outer Space from becoming an arena for military confrontation. The Statement further expresses the belief that Outer Space should be used in compliance with international law for the benefit of all nations, regardless of the level of their economic, scientific or technological development.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa arrived in New York City Sunday afternoon. President Rajapaksa will attend the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and is scheduled to deliver his address Sept. 24.
The President and First Lady were welcomed by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Deputy Permanent Representative Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, staff members of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and several members of the Sri Lankan community living in New York City.
This will be the sixth time the President will address the UNGA, the first of which was in 2006. In addition to taking part in the General Assembly, President Rajapaksa is also scheduled to hold bilateral discussions with UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban ki-Moon, Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma and several other leaders from countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Mr. Dullas Alahapperuma, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin De Vass Gunawardena, Member of Parliament Mr. Lohan Ratwatte and Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga are accompanying President Rajapaksa on this visit.

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