Thursday, September 20, 2012

New U.S envoy visits Jaffna

September 21, 2012
The new U.S Ambassador to Sri Lanka visited the north over the last couple of days and had wide ranging discussions with officials and people in the area.
Ambassador Michele J. Sison visited Jaffna and Kilinochchci as part of her northern trip, her first since she took over as the Ambassador to Sri Lanka recently.
During her meetings in Jaffna Ambassador Sison met with the Muslim Federation of Jaffna and discussed several issues including on the displaced and the needs of the Muslim community, the U.S Embassy said.
The Ambassador had, during that meeting, reiterated US opposition to a controversial anti Islam video which had resulted in protests against the U.S government in several countries.
Meanwhile the US Embassy in Colombo said that Sison handed over fishing supplies to 130 families in Kallar, Killinochchi yesterday.
This donation, through the U.S. Embassy’s development arm, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is part of a larger initiative of partnering with families in conflict-affected areas, bringing dignity back to their communities.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in the Killinochchi district, Ambassador Sison said, “You have advocated, against many difficulties, to secure access to the sea. You have travelled across the district, searching for a better way of living. It is our hope that these 10 boats, the nets and gear will assist you as you continue to restore your lives; the U.S. Government is committed to helping rebuild Sri Lanka’s communities with initiatives such as this one.”
In addition to providing equipment, USAID organizes exposure visits and training programs, giving the fishermen of Kallar an opportunity to learn new technologies, sustainable fish harvesting and environmentally sound practices from southern fishermen.

Irving Levance of EDU received Upali Sarrath Kongahage of Sri Lanka

Fri, 2012-09-21 00:44 — editor
Berlin, 21 September, (

The purpose of the meeting was to outline current EDU projects and to be briefed on the educational priorities and policies of the Sri Lankan Government.
Upali Sarrath Kongahage lived up to his reputation as a soft spoken diplomat, graduate of the University of Kelaniya, Attorney at Law and skilled orator. The Secretary General was impressed by the Sri Lankan diplomat’s clear explanation of the nation’s history from its foundation to present day, delivered without notes, which demonstrated an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the nation he represents.
Topics discussed included
• Sri Lanka being one of the oldest established Asian democracies dating from the 1930’s, being a pioneer in the region of introducing female voting rights, having the first woman Prime Minister and the First woman President;
• The impressive attainment of a 90% literacy rate, free state funded Education following the British model, up to and including tertiary level education; the establishment of private universities specializing in Medical, Legal and Information Technology areas;
• The importance placed upon I.T. literacy; the current strike amongst university lecturers demanding that education be apportioned 6% of national GDP in the face of difficulties to raise the input above 3% of GDP as the nation takes on the costs of repair and reconciliation following three decades of civil conflict; that the nation currently has about 80,000 students enrolled in tertiary level education out of a population of about 21 million;
• The encouragement of multicultural private education establishments in a tri-lingual country with Singhalese, Tamil and English as the official languages, the provision of universal free medical care and the policy of subsidizing agricultural materials such as fertilizer while at the same time guaranteeing prices paid to farmers to encourage a stable food economy.
Upali Sarrath Kongahage spoke at length and with heartfelt conviction of the need for all the peoples of Sri Lanka to come together in consolidation and reconciliation of the peace established after an extended internal conflict. Education, he affirms, is a prime factor in this undertaking. These comments sat well with Irving Levance, since he heads an Intergovernmental Organization dedicated to promoting understanding and education.
Sri Lanka’s enviable record in education provision is an impressive example of how a well-planned and well-implemented education policy can benefit a country’s development.
Current areas for improvement were identified in the need for training schools for teachers, Information Technology and specialized languages.
- Asian Tribune -

Visit by Wu Bangguo, China’s top legislature to Sri Lanka heightens the momentum of Sri Lanka – China Bilateral Relations

Fri, 2012-09-21 00:58 — editor
Colombo, 21 September, (
At the invitation of the Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Wu Bangguo representing the higher echelons of the leadership of the People’s Republic of China made a first ever historic visit to Sri Lanka from 15 – 18 September 2012.
This visit marked an important milestone in Sri Lanka-China relations particularly in consolidating friendly ties and setting the tone for future cooperation between the two countries.
During his discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 17th morning, both sides acknowledged that bilateral relations based on historic and cultural affinities have further been reinforced building upon mutual trust and confidence. At the conclusion of this meeting 16 Agreements were signed ranging from visa exemption and marine development to economic and technical co-operation.
Chairman Wu noted that the All-round Cooperative Partnership initiated in 2005, should be the guiding light in evolving a new stage of cooperation in the bilateral relations. In this respect the parties identified the importance of frequent exchanges of high level visits to inject new vitality to the existing relations.
China was pleased with the tremendous achievements made by Sri Lanka particularly after a near three decade terrorist conflict. Chairman Wu commended the impressive 8% economic growth recorded by Sri Lanka consecutively and post war reconstruction efforts that are underway. He was confident of the visionary leadership of President Rajapaksa in steering the country forward.
President Rajapaksa thanked China for the assistance extended for safeguarding Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during the fight against terrorism and for the support extended to Sri Lanka particularly in the regional and multilateral fora and to forge ahead with post conflict reconciliation and rehabilitation programmes involving all communities in the country. Sri Lanka also pledged unstinted support to “One China Policy” and agreed to work together with China in regional and international fora on issues of mutual interest. On forging mutual cooperation both parties agreed to give a new hype to economic relations between the two countries. In this respect China agreed to provide further support to Sri Lanka for reducing the trade imbalance. The NPC Chairman encouraged Sri Lanka to promote the country more vigorously in the Chinese market which would benefit Sri Lanka in enhancing exports and attract more Chinese tourists to visit the country.
Reduction of import duties on Sri Lanka’s exports were also discussed within agreed framework arrangements and it was promised to facilitate more market penetration opportunities to Sri Lankan export products to China.
The opportunities available in Sri Lanka to attract Chinese investments were also discussed. Chairman Wu noted that China so far made outward investments to the tune of over 74.6 billion USD. He also explained that Sri Lanka should be in a position to attract a sizeable portion of these investments due to the durable peace and political stability in the country at present.
Tourism resource development was another area for co-operation agreed by both parties.
Chairman Wu elaborated on the advancements made by his country on infrastructure development and pledged further support to Sri Lanka in this area and also in sharing Chinese expertise. Collaboration on oceanic and agricultural cooperation were also proposed with a focus on marine and scientific research, preventing climate change and natural disasters. China also pledged support to Sri Lanka in capacity building in these areas.
On agriculture cooperation, China spoke of the advancements that have been made in their country and offered assistance to Sri Lanka on animal husbandry, biomass & energy production and agriculture product processing in Sri Lanka.
Both sides also supported each other’s candidacies in the multilateral fora. China offered to work with the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) member countries in consensus building on elevating Sri Lanka’s participation as an observer and expressed interest to cooperate closely with South Asia through SAARC.
On 17th afternoon, Chairman Wu visited the Parliament of Sri Lanka, where he was welcomed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and other important dignitaries. At a large gathering of the Sri Lanka’s legislative body Chairman Wu spoke of the future progression of bilateral relations attaching greater importance to strengthening contacts between the parliamentary friendship groups, young parliamentarians and also the provincial authorities to further consolidate State to State relations. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa referred to his recent successful visit to China in facilitating a deeper understanding of each other’s social systems for relations to grow.
Chairman Wu during his stay also visited the Independence Square, the Colombo South Container Terminal Development Project which is a joint venture of US $ 500 mn, and the BMICH which stands as an edifice of the monumental friendship between the two countries.
The Official Visit by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China to Sri Lanka heralded a new chapter in Sino-Sri Lanka relations in pursuit of common endeavors towards strengthening closer friendship and co-operation between the two countries.
- Asian Tribune -

Sri Lankan Ambassador Shantha Kottegoda, presents letter of credence to the King of Cambodia

Fri, 2012-09-21 01:56 — editor
Bangkok, 21 September, (

General (Retrd) Shantha Kottegoda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Bangkok presents letter of credence to His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia

General (Retd.) Shantha Kottegoda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Bangkok presented letter of credence to His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia on 7th of September 2012, concurrently accrediting him as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia as well.
The presentation ceremony took place at the Royal Place where the Ambassador was escorted by a royal motorcade. The Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia received him at the entrance of the palace and a ceremonial guard of honor was accorded.
During the audience, the King conveyed his best wishes to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and to the people of Sri Lanka. The King also congratulated President on the achievement of peace and security in Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador having recalled the historical ties between two countries that date back to 12 th century based on ancient Buddhist links conveyed to the King the warm greetings and best wishes of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He also conveyed the appreciation of President Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka for the valuable support extended by Cambodia in eradicating terrorism in Sri Lanka and also for preventing terrorists from operating from Cambodian soil against the interest of Sri Lanka.
- Asian Tribune -