Lanka a success story in tsunami recovery- Italian Deputy FM
COLOMBO: Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator
Gianni Vernetti said the tsunami reconstruction effort is a success
story in Sri Lanka, when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Vernetti arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday and will be here till today.
He said after visiting many reconstruction projects in Peraliya,
Thotagama, Akurala and Panadura undertaken by the Italian governmental
agencies and Italian NGOs, he was pleased to see that most of the
projects were completed successfully on target.
President Rajapaksa thanked the Government and the people of Italy
for their generous and prompt assistance provided in the immediate
aftermath of the destruction caused by the tsunami.
"I am highly impressed of the complete and effective realisation in
such a short time," he said.
Briefing the visiting Deputy Minister on the current developments in
Sri Lanka and the need for the security measures taken while pursuing a
peace initiative, President Rajapaksa re-iterated the commitment of the
Government to a negotiated settlement and regretted that despite all
efforts of the Government to resume talks, the LTTE remain intransigent.
He briefed the visiting dignitary on the Government's efforts towards
formulating a framework for devolution and the effective role played by
the All Party Conference (APC) in this regard.
He expressed his confidence that a comprehensive proposal would
emerge towards this end shortly.
Vernetti appreciated the measures taken by the Government towards a
political solution and emphasised the support of the Italian Government
towards these measures.
At a press conference in the 'Villa Roma' yesterday, the Italian
Deputy Minister appreciated that Sri Lankans are well received in Italy
and the Sri Lankan expatriate community has well integrated into the
He was of the view that people-to-people contact between the two
countries should be further strengthened. The job quota for Sri Lankans
would be enhanced, Vernetti said.
The Deputy Minister emphasised the importance of enhancing relations
between the two countries by entering into mechanisms such as MoUs in
the areas of economic cooperation, tourism, science and technology,
Italian language teaching and the restoration of archaeological sites.
An MoU on disaster management training for Sri Lankans in Italian
universities would also be signed shortly.
President Rajapaksa while agreeing to the proposal said such
initiatives should be pursued without delay. Senator Vernetti also
called on Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, Ministers Nimal
Siripala de Silva and Mahinda Samarasinghe, Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe and TNA Parliamentarian V. Sambanthan.