Honorary Consuls representing foreign Governments in Sri Lanka have a pivotal role to play in
strengthening Sri Lanka’s
relations abroad, stated Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris.
Prof. Peiris was addressing the Honorary Consuls in Sri Lanka, at the Ministry of External Affairs
on Monday, where he noted that after over twenty years, there were
opportunities for economic revival in the country and the Honorary Consuls
should identify their areas of priorities in attracting investment and tourism
into Sri Lanka,
states the Foreign Ministry.
The External Affairs Minister recalled the successful visits
undertaken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Indiaand his own visit to the United
Minister Peiris stated that following discussions, the
Government of India had agreed to build 50,000 houses for the Internally
Displaced persons (IDPs) as an outright grant in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The Minister also referred to
the establishment of a joint venture for building a 500 MW coal-fired power
plant at Sampur, Trincomalee incorporating environmentally friendly
technologies between the two countries, while also extending assistance for the
rehabilitation of Palaly Airport and Kankesanthurai Harbour.
He also stated that Indiawould also help in renovating the Duraiappah Stadium and construct a Cultural
Centre in Jaffna.
He further stated that the reconstruction of the Madu-Talaimannar railway line
and concessionary credit facilities amounting to about US$ 800 million were
also offered by India for
the railway projects in Sri
Referring to his visit to the United
States and his meeting with US Secretary of State, Hilary
Clinton, External Affairs Minister, Prof. Peiris noted that Ms. Clinton has
reiterated the United States’
strong support for the political and ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka. He stated that Ms.
Clinton had also reaffirmed the support of the United States for the creation of
the ‘Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission’ and had described it as “a
promising opportunity to move forward”.
During his address to the Honorary Consuls, Minister Peiris
highlighted the importance of the role played by the Sri Lankan diaspora. He
stated that they were a significant and vocal segment and called on the
Honorary Consuls to engage with them positively in order to re-orient and
enable them to play a meaningful role in the reconstruction of the north and
east of Sri Lanka.
The Minister pointed out the need to revive the economy of Sri Lanka and
to highlight the improving business environment to the international community
and potential investors. Minister Prof. Peiris also noted positive developments
such as the forthcoming visit of the Ambani brothers, internationally renowned
business magnates from India,
who were due to visit Sri
Lanka shortly to explore possible investment
opportunities in the country.
The Minister called upon the Honorary Consuls to participate
in this process and work in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs
to increase investment, tourism and business opportunities in Sri Lanka in an era of peace and
Photo caption: Prof. G.L. Peiris addressing the Honorary
Consuls. (Pix by: Indika Ranawaka)