Recognizing Sri Lanka’s enormous potential as a maritime nation in the Indian Ocean, the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, expressed their determination to expand the long-standing friendship between the two countries into “a new partnership between maritime countries”; and further strengthen the cooperative relations to play significant roles in the stability and prosperity of the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
The Joint Statement issued by the two leaders after bi-lateral discussions at the Presidential Secretariat today, gave much importance to the strategic location of Sri Lanka, in the India Ocean sea lanes straddling Asia and Africa.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai is attempting to influence the investigation on Sri Lanka and make it follow a preconceived trajectory. Her public pronouncements to the media when she is scheduled to leave office at the end of the month, on an investigation which has commenced only recently is clear indication of personal bias, the External Affairs Ministry stated in a release yesterday (August 14).
"It is evidence of an attempt to influence the investigation process and make it follow a preconceived trajectory," the ministry release stated. The release added: "She refers in her statement to a 'wealth of information outside Sri Lanka'. This is the same wealth of information that she has tended to refer to in the past, justifying it to be from credible sources, although their origins continue to remain undisclosed, and verification has not been facilitated, the release further stated.
When taking political decisions we always took a very long-term view of issues, and did not focus merely the immediate and short-term time horizon, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
“When we developed the infrastructure of our country we were not thinking of the next 5 years or the next election, but about the next one hundred years and beyond”, President Rajapaksa said addressing the ceremony of the 175th anniversary of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
Sri Lanka ranks first among South Asian countries in the latest E-Government Development Index conducted by the United Nations.
“Sri Lankan government has made a substantial effort to develop its online portal which now ranks 74th in the world”, the UN said. Sri Lanka ranked 115 in 2012.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday appointed an Advisory Council to the Commission of Inquiry, extending the scope of the mandate of the commission. The Advisory Council comprises three legal luminaries. The Right Honourable Sir Desmond de Silva was appointed as the chairman of the council while Sir Geoffrey Nice, and Prof. David Crane are the members.
The Commission of Inquiry appointed vide Gazette Notification 1823/42 dated 15th August 2013 is mandated to inquire and report on the matters that have been referred in paragraph 4. 359 to in the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
The Government of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned at the recent escalating violence in Gaza, resulting in tragic loss of civilian lives and extensive damage to property. Cross border provocations on locations in parts of Israel also need to cease.
Sri Lanka calls upon the parties concerned to exercise utmost restraint in a bid to halt the violence and ensure a climate conducive to the recommencement of negotiations for a lasting solution to the conflict.Sri Lanka calls upon the parties to engage at the earliest in direct dialogue which is the only viable initiative for sustained peace and security in the region.
Making the biggest progress by a member country from its preceding ranking in the 2014 United Nations eGovernment Development Index (eGDI), Sri Lanka has advanced to the 74th position.
At the preceding survey determining the eGDI which was in 2012 Sri Lanka’s position out of 193 countries was 115. Thus the 2014 United Nations eGDI of Sri Lanka is a jump traversing 41 positions.
The rank reached by Sri Lanka out of 193 countries also places it within the first half of the highest ranked countries as well as the in the first position out of South Asian countries.
In a statement to mark the World Refugee Day the UNHCR has commended Sri Lankan government on the ‘great strides taken to reintegrate some 573,651 returning internally displaced persons since the end of civil conflict in 2009’.
It had also noted the role played by Sri Lanka on being a host country to populations that flee violence in the South Asian region.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday promised to take stern action against the perpetrators of the communal violence in Aluthgama and Beruwala.
After visiting the areas of Beruwala and Aluthgama affected by the clashes between two groups of people, the President, who just returned from the Bolivia visit, reiterated he will not allow anyone to take law into their hands. An impartial investigation will be conducted into the incident and will definitely bring all culprits to the book irrespective of race or religious differences.