The Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who ha just concluded a three day official visit to Paris, had reiterated his commitment to elevate the bilateral partnership with France to a higher level in all spheres of co-operation strengthening the existing bonds of friendship between the two countries.
At bilateral discussions with Jean – Marc Ayrault, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, both Ministers acknowledged the longstanding affinities of the two countries bound by common values and aspirations.
Minister Samaraweera outlined the progressive political developments achieved by Sri Lanka since the historical presidential elections in January 2015.
The Minister made reference to the three pillar approach of President Sirisena, strengthening democracy, achieving meaningful reconciliation and fostering economic development. Giving an account of the measures taken by the new government to strengthen democracy, he spoke of the formation of a National unity government for implementing constitutional and legislative reforms, passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution curtailing executive powers of the President and presenting of the Right to Information Bill in the Parliament in March 2016.
He emphasized that the decision by the Government to co-sponsor the UN Human Rights Council resolution was a means of coming to terms with its own past which also paved the way to forge ahead with meaningful reconciliation.
The structural arrangement devised to give practical orientation to this process namely, the recent statutory provisions passed to setup the Missing Persons Office, the process underway to finalize the Truth Commission, the Accountability Mechanism and the Office of Reparations was also explained in detail to his counterpart.
Minister Ayrault, welcomed the great strides taken by Sri Lanka during a short span of time in building a conducive environment for peace and stability. He applauded the ambitious programme launched by Sri Lanka and the timely structures that have been deviced to bring about reconciliation.
Ayrault pledged his country’s firm support in all Sri Lanka’s ambitious endeavours and recognized that France has been a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka and is keen to engage in its development process.
In this context, he reaffirmed France’s support for Sri Lanka’s GSP + application and the lifting of the EU fisheries ban. He further stated that the business conclave meeting concluded with MEDEF International (Mouvement des entreprises de France), the most representative organization of the French private sector is a step in the right direction for a strengthened presence of French Investments in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)