|Palestine to support entry of Sri Lanka to the OIC as an Observer|
|Friday, 10 October 2008 08:13|
Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr Riad al Malki met his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama today (10th October 2008) at the Foreign Ministry for official talks. During the discussions, he conveyed the readiness of the Palestinian President, Dr. Mahmoud Abbas to support Sri Lanka's application for entry into the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as an Observer.
Dr. Malki thanked Minister Bogollagama for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality that has been extended to the Palestinian delegation during the current official visit of President, Dr. Mahmoud Abbas to Sri Lanka. He recalled the long standing friendship between Palestine and Sri Lanka and expressed his sincere appreciation for the continued and steadfast support of the Government of Sri Lanka for the Palestinian cause in multilateral fora.
Minister Bogollagama discussed with the Palestinian Foreign Minister, ways and means to implement the proposals undertaken in the Framework Agreement on Technical Co-operation and Practical Training, signed yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat in the presence of visiting Palestinian President Dr. Mahmoud Abbas and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Sri Lankan Government has informed that sixty placements will be offered to Palestinian students and apprentices to pursue studies and training in the fields of hotel management and tourism, medicine and para-medical courses, engineering and teacher training. Both Ministers agreed to begin negotiations soon to sign the Protocols necessary to give effect to the Agreement.
Foreign Minister Bogollagma briefed Dr. Malki on current political developments in Sri Lanka, including the restoration of civil administration and democracy to the Eastern Province, following the clearing of the province of the LTTE last year, as well as the ongoing negotiations within the framework of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) to reach a durable political settlement to the conflict. He said that the Government’s strategy is to counter terrorism through the empowerment of the people by bringing democracy to conflict ridden areas. The success of this approach in the Eastern Province has been amply demonstrated, and it is hoped to replicate this strategy in the North too, even as the security forces are engaged in clearing the area of the LTTE. This would pave the way for the government to launch its economic development programme in these areas, to bring sustainable development and prosperity to the people, who have long suffered under the brutal and dictatorial control of the LTTE.
Minister Bogollagama conveyed his appreciation for the Palestinian support that had been expressed by President Mahmoud Abbas for Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and noted the steadfast position of both countries in condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the need for effective international cooperation to eliminate this global menace.
While noting the gradual increase of tourist traffic from Sri Lanka to Palestine, both Ministers highlighted the importance of people to people contacts for the promotion of social and cultural development between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama accepted an invitation by Dr. Malki to visit Palestine at an early mutually convenient date.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
10 October 2008