Temple Mount resolution: Mangala on why Sri Lanka abstained | Daily News


Temple Mount resolution: Mangala on why Sri Lanka abstained

Sri Lanka abstained from voting in favour the proposed Temple Mount resolution put forward by Palestinian representatives to UNESCO because it was not compatible with the policy of the government that recognises people’s rights and freedom to follow a faith of their choice without restrictions, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

Minister Samaraweera was speaking at a press conference yesterday.

Samaraweera said the Temple Mount proposal had sought that places in the Temple Mount area be referred to only by their Arabic names.

"The place is a holy and a historic site for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As a government that has stood for people’s rights and religious freedom we could not have agreed to it from the point of principles we have upheld and maintained on such matters which restricts or discriminate others, the minister explained and added, “Nevertheless, we did not vote against it because Palastine is our friend," the minister said.

"We abstained from voting in favour of it on the basis of our principles,.”he said.

"Not only Sri Lanka, but also 28 member states including India abstained from voting the resolution, "Minister Samaraweera pointed out.

"Sri Lanka has upheld and advocated the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

He said the country has lent its full support to Palestinians for the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

“Moreover, Sri Lanka has upheld and advocated that Palestine and Israel exist within secure and recognised borders,” the minister said,”

We have also recognised the rights of Israel to exist as an independent state,.”he said.

“The viewpoint concerned is compatible with the United Nation’s vision for a future state of Palestine and its Security Council’s proposals in line with it,” he said.

He said the government of Sri Lanka recently extended its support to Palestine to upgrade its status at the United Nations from a non-member observer entity to a non-member state. 

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