Statement by H.E. Dr. Palitha Kohona
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
At the Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the
Humanitarian Situation resulting from the floods in Pakistan
19th August, 2010

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the President for initiating the Resolution on “Floods in Pakistan” which we have unanimously adopted and for convening this plenary meeting. We also thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Mr. Qureshi, for his presence at this meeting and for his detailed briefing. The updated information on the ground situation provided by the Secretary-General, including on the relief effort, is greatly appreciated.

SRI LANKA RANKED 66TH IN WORLD'S BEST COUNTRIES


August 19, 2010: According to a study carried out by Newsweek magazine Sri Lanka has been ranked 66th in the world's best countries.
The study was conducted by the internationally acclaimed magazine on 100 of the world's best countries.


The study focused on five main aspects which included health, quality of life and the political environment.


Finland was ranked No. 1 in the study while Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and Luxembourg were ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.


Burkina  Faso was ranked 100th while Nigeria, Cameron, Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique were the other countries that made the bottom five.


Japan, in the meantime, was ranked 9th in the world's best countries while the United States ranked 11th according to the Newsweek study.


Sri Lanka was ranked above its neighbors with India ranked at No 78, Bangladesh at No 88, and Pakistan at No. 89.

 

Government Thanks The UN
(The Sunday Leader)

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa today (19) thanked the assistance provided by the UN and said the country could not have achieved what it has at the moment without the help of all humanitarian workers and the UN organization.


Rajapaksa made this statement during his address at an event held at the UN Compound today. This follows somewhat tense relations with the UN following the protest in front of their compound by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa.

Rajapaksa thanked the UN country office, its country director and all the donors who have assisted Sri Lanka.


“I don’t think we could have achieved what we have achieved at this moment without the help of all humanitarian workers and the UN organization. On behalf of the government and the people of Sri Lanka I would like to thank the UN country office especially the country director and all the other country heads in the UN family and all the donors who helped through UN and directly to the Sri Lanka government and the people of Sri Lanka,” he said.


The UN also reiterated its support to the government at the event.

UN Country Representative Neil Buhne addressing the same gathering said the UN was looking forward to support the government to rebuild and recover, and lay a firm foundation for safe lives free from need for all Sri Lankans

Sri Lanka May Not Tap IMF Funds Immediately on Reserves, Amunugama Says
By Anusha Ondaatjie - Aug 17, 2010 (Bloomberg)


Sri Lanka may not tap loans from the International Monetary Fund immediately as foreign-exchange reserves have climbed to a record, Deputy Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said.
“We don’t want to draw down at this stage and accumulate unnecessary debt, even at concessionary terms,” Amunugama said in a telephone interview today from the capital, Colombo. “We have enough foreign exchange now.”


The Washington-based lender on June 28 approved the release of about $408 million to Sri Lanka under a $2.5 billion standby loan program approved in July 2009. The IMF has so far lent about $1.02 billion.

The island nation turned to the IMF last year to replenish its foreign-exchange reserves. They have since risen to an unprecedented $5.8 billion amid aid and investment flows.

Public Hearings of the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation

The Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation commenced its public hearings today at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. Representations were made by Mr. Bernard Goonathilleke, former diplomat, former DG/SCOOP and Secretary/Foreign Affairs, as well as Dr. V.Nallainayagam , an expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil from Canada.

A more comprehensive report on the proceedings will follow.

The public hearings will continue tomorrow and the week after, while hearings will also be held in Vavuniya on 14th and 15th August.

The text of the mandate of the Commission can be downloaded from the Official Government Website : www.priu.gov.lk

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