Navaneethan Pillay welcome to visit Sri Lanka – Govt.

The government welcomes its critics from abroad, including UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay, to visit Sri Lanka, since they could be given an opportunity to see for themselves the situation in the former conflict areas, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday.

Addressing the Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, he admitted that that there was a period when foreign dignitaries were not granted permission to visit the North, due to the situation that had prevailed there including the presence of landmines.

“We welcome our critics from abroad. They can come and verify any negative impressions which they may have about Sri Lanka”, he said adding that denial of entry would be counter productive.

The Minister said that the Cabinet had decided to establish diplomatic relations with 13 Latin American countries. They are Guatemala, Suriname, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, St. Kits & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Latin American nations which were under the British, French and other European colonial rulers were progressing towards sustainable growth and developing as emerging States. The promotion of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic ties in this region was another step forward in its foreign policy. Of the 33 countries in Latin America, which are members of the United Nations, formal relations have been established with 20 of them, he said.

A proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Sri Lankan and Seychelles Education Ministries was also approved by the Cabinet, Rambukwella said adding that it would further strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

By Zacki Jabbar

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