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Statement issued by Lakshman Kiriella on Daily Mirror Editorial - Tuesday Aug 25

25 August 2015 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Nisha Biswal with Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Foreign Ministry yesterday.


In a context where a newly-elected government is still in the stage of formation and our international friends are observing its daily developments, we find the editorial of Tuesday (August 25) Dailymirror is rather pessimistic and detrimental to the future perspectives of the country.

Any visit by a foreign dignitary to Sri Lanka at this critical juncture could be decisive in many views and so does that of Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia. As claimed by the editorial, these visits or any such engagements should not be cited as direct or indirect interference in the internal matters of Sri Lanka, which have always maintained a strong non-aligned policy from its Independence. Such visits are vital, not on the perspective of internal issues, but in the process of rebuilding the country’s image, its trade and diplomatic ties.

Sri Lanka is facing a total paradigm shift since January 8 in creating a new country for its masses based on good governance. Bilateral and multilateral engagements on international theatre are among the cardinal aspects of this process. We consider neighbouring Asian countries as important friends of Sri Lanka, while US and the West, too, would continue as vital trade and diplomatic partners. Thus the comment of the concerned editorial; “True, it won an election, but then again the Maithripala-Wickremesinghe dispensation was painted as being servile to US interests,” holds no water in the context of any sensible argument.

The editorial comments on the UNHRC process on Sri Lanka is both confusing and misleading. The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena since January 8 has repeatedly claimed that it would dedicate itself for a locally-driven process based on the LLRC report and would never make room for an international intervention. This was reiterated by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in his recent interview with The Hindu newspaper. As the newspaper has correctly quoted, US Secretary of State John Kerry himself has commented on a positive note stating that the problems of Sri Lanka are clearly going to be solved by Sri Lankans and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Thus, if it is Sri Lankan way of handling things according to internationally-accepted norms and procedures in a process of engagement and consultation through an independent judicial system, we are confused as to how “Nisha Biswal can help or make things worse.” As we strongly feel, it would be Sri Lankans ourselves, rather than anybody else outside, who could decide our destiny on those sensitive issues.

Even during the previous regime, it was its unprofessional conduct and mishandling of issues that attracted unnecessary international attention and pressure on Sri Lanka. We should not blame the international community for our own mistakes. We must get our acts together and house in order before pointing fingers at others; and that is exactly what the Maithripala-Wickremesinghe government is embarking on now through its commitment through the establishment of good governance. We have been successful in establishing judicial independence and accountability which has won the trust of local and international stakeholders. We have nothing to hide and we are committed to uphold a higher level of transparency in all our affairs, including such a local process of inquiry.

Thus, a responsible English language newspaper like The Dailymirror should not view an important diplomatic mission by a foreign dignitary as a decisive move for the internal affairs of the country. We should welcome our international friends with a positive note and the usual Sri Lankan warmth, without seeing them as decision makers of our own destiny. Our destiny is in our own hands, not in anyone else’s.  
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  Comments - 1

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  • citizen Thursday, 27 August 2015 01:06 PM

    Ha.....ha.....Kiriella talking here on behalf of Biswal madam......I wonder y Kiriella wants to send a answer....


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