New Constitution, bilateral trade agreements: Govt. to follow public, intellectual views: President | Daily News


 

New Constitution, bilateral trade agreements: Govt. to follow public, intellectual views: President

The Government will closely follow the public opinion and the views of intellectuals when proceeding on the new Constitution and all bilateral trade agreements, including the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He made this observation in Parliament yesterday joining in the third reading debate of ‘Budget 2017’ when the Financial Head of Defence Ministry was taken up.

He urged the Opposition groups not to spread falsehoods on the new Constitution or Indo-Lanka trade agreement to turn the people against the Government. “Do not create a fear psychosis among people for your political expediency. If you continue your criticism on the new Constitution aiming at making political mileage, at some point in the future it is the country that will suffer,” the President told the Opposition members.

The President stressed that ETCA would be presented to the Cabinet and Parliament prior to its signing, adding that it would only be signed with the consensus in the country after revising any undesirable clause.

“Economic security is an essential part of national security. Towards this end we intend to come to trade agreements not only with India, but also all the countries with higher economic development” the President noted.

Referring to the new Constitution, the President said nothing has been finalized on it and it is open for discussion. “The quality and moral goodness of the Sinhala Buddhists should not be destroyed by stoking communal fires,” he said.

The President also invited the Members of Parliament to come up with constructive proposals, ideas and plans for the betterment of the country rather than simple criticism.

“Despite the various criticisms levelled against us, I must stress that we will at no point compromise national security. We will not weaken the military forces. We work with thorough understanding about everything. Knowing the global trends, we have to be prepared to confront threats of cyber terrorism and cyber-crimes,” the President said.

President Sirisena in his speech also emphasised the need to build international goodwill for the country’s national security. “Some question what we have done during the past 22 months. We have been committed to improve the international relations of the country. We personally met various Heads of States and Heads of International Organizations including the UNO. We have been able to win back their support” he commented.

The President also said retrospection of the past is necessary to avoid the space for a conflict at any time in the future.


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