High level visits by a large number of countries:
All eyes on Sri Lanka now says GL
External Affairs Minister Professor G L Peiris said at no time in Sri
Lanka's recent history have we seen the international focus Sri Lanka is
receiving now, with visits at very high levels from a large number of
countries including India, China, Japan, the Russian Federation, the
Untied States, South Africa, Pakistan, the Seychelles, Swaziland and the
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is also due to arrive
shortly, he said.
Minister Peiris speaking as the Chief Guest at a meeting of the
Association of Consuls said this situation shows, beyond any doubt the
intensity and continuity of Sri Lanka's engagement with the world.
"We are legitimately proud of our achievements and we want these
foreign dignitaries to observe for themselves, at first hand, the
country's signal accomplishments after the eradication of terrorism," he
Dealing with the role of Consuls, the minister said they have a
crucial function to perform at this time in providing a constant flow of
information to the capitals with which they are linked.
"This information has to be continually updated : for example, that
very morning, the Central Bank Governor and his officials had completed
a task assigned to them by the government and submitted to the External
Affairs Minister and the Secretary to the President the translation of
the complete text of the LLRC report into Sinhala and Tamil, to broaden
the scope of public awareness of the recommendations contained in the
Having regard to the magnitude of Sri Lanka's achievements,
acknowledged by all, in a wide variety of fields including resettlement
of internally displaced persons, the re-integration of ex-combatants
into society, effective de-mining operations and remarkable
infrastructure development in the Northern Province in particular,
resulting in revival of the economy of the area, it is only just and
reasonable to expect adequate time and space to be made available to Sri
Lanka to continue with domestic processes which are already well under
way, the minister said.
Excessive international pressure is counterproductive, especially
because it encourages local actors to disregard local processes and to
expect solutions to be imposed from abroad "a state of things which we
all know cannot occur," he said.
Prof Peiris stressed on the role which Consuls should play in matters
connected with the diaspora, and the protection of Sri Lanka's economic
interests including trade, investment and tourism abroad.
Association President Daya Wettasinghe who chaired the meeting,
expressed appreciation of Minister Peiris' decision to include Consuls
in all briefings by the minister for the diplomatic community.
"This ensures that Consuls are kept in the loop, so that they can
perform their functions with greater effectiveness in the national
interest," he said.
International Monetary Co-operation Senior Minister Dr Sarath
Amunugama also addressed the Consuls.
Among those attending the event were the ambassador of Japan and the
High Commissioners of India, Australia, Pakistan, Canada and South