|FM invites China and the world community to become partners in the economic empowerment of Sri Lanka|
|Friday, 03 July 2009 13:44|
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, who is on an official visit to China, addressed a gathering of over 100 diplomats, leading think tanks, research organizations and media personnel at the prestigious China Institute for International Studies on “Post – Conflict Sri Lanka and the way forward” on July 2nd.
The Minister gave a comprehensive account of the negotiations held with the LTTE commencing from 1985 Timpu talks until military engagement was necessary for humanitarian reasons to save over 280,000 internally displaced people who were taken hostage by the LTTE, which finally led to the defeat of terrorism. The Minister reiterated that the firm commitment demonstrated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the armed forces to defeat terrorism have brought about a feeling of freedom for everybody in the country and now with the vibrant democratic structure a new era would be ushered in for an inclusive process of political development with equitable distribution of resources for economic empowerment and social stability of all communities. The Foreign Minister emphasized that the right to counter terrorism was a prerogative of any sovereign state and the humanitarian interventions that had to be carried out were based on a “zero civilian casualty regime that had been strictly administered by the present Government.
Elaborating on the plans of the Government on post conflict development, the Foreign Minister spoke of the 180 day road map for resettlement and rehabilitation of ex-combatants and to move forward with the reconstruction efforts. In that context, Minister was confident of reaching the targeted goals replicating the success experienced in the Eastern Province in brining about a sense of freedom and empowerment of people through devolution of power and decentralization of economic activities through an industrialization drive. Quoting President Rajapaksa of his ideology towards national reconciliation, Foreign Minister expressed President’s view that there would be “no solution to a political issue other than a political solution”. The Minister thanked the international community for supporting Sri Lanka’s cause by banning the LTTE in some countries and also for the moral and material support extended to eradicate terrorism from her soil.
Particularly referring to relations with China the Minister pointed out that it is a very special relationship of a mutually beneficial partnership and thanked the Government of China for all support extended to Sri Lanka in the international fora and also in engaging in the socio –economic development process in the country. In describing Sri Lanka’s involvement in the regional fora, the Minister Bogollagama spoke of Sri Lanka’s current chairmanship in the SAARC and the newly gained dialogue status in the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) apart from her interactions as a member in the Asian Regional Forum, Asia Co-operation Dialogue and the BIMSTEC. Describing the new winds of freedom experienced in Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Bogollagama invited China and the world to reap the benefits of the opportunities available in the country with much liberalized economic policies and the many avenues available to generate a greater growth.
Minister Bogollagama witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Studies (LKIIRS) and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) of China in Beijing on 1st July 2009. The main objective of the Agreement was to undertake research and strategic studies to improve scientific and academic levels of the two institutions. Engaging in a discussion with the President of the SIIS, after the signing ceremony, Minister Bogollagama commented that these two much respected institutes could promote and reinforce cooperation and strengthen mutual understanding particularly amongst the young researchers of the two countries with the exchange of information and expertise. The Forum concluded with an interactive session and a brief interview to the Chinese media.
Signing the Agreement on behalf of the Chinese side the President of the SIIS, Prof. Yang Jiemien who is the brother of the Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and a scholar of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy reiterated the long-standing friendship and strong historic links between Sri Lanka and China and stated that he is confident that this Agreement would help further consolidate the ties between the two countries, and the two institutes.
The SIIS has been founded in 1960 and is elected as one of the “Top Think Tanks in China and is also ranked “Top 10 Think Tanks” in the world at a rating conducted by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) based at Philadelphia, USA. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China, Karunatilaka Amunugama signed the Agreement on behalf of Sri Lanka and the Additional Secretary of East Asia and Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Pamela Dean was also present at the ceremony.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
03rd July 2009