Sri Lanka received a boost in its efforts to regain the GSP plus trade benefits with the European Union expressing satisfaction on the progress in Sri Lanka following the end of the war and indicating it will continue negotiations on the GSP plus issue.
The EU expressed satisfaction following tow days of talks with a delegation of Sri Lankan senior officials led by Attorney General Mohan Pieris in Brussels which ended yesterday.
The talks were aimed at urging the EU to continue with the GSP plus trade benefits for Sri Lanka after August this year. The EU had decided to suspend the trade benefits over human rights related issues but opened the doors for negotiations to reconsider the move.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Brussels said that during talks with Dr. Kristalina Georgiva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Attorney General Mohan Pieris said that with Sri Lanka now well on the way to sustainable recovery, the Government and the people were increasingly focusing on reaping the peace dividend, while endeavouring for restorative justice to further strengthen national amity.
The Attorney General was joined in the discussion by Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, External Affairs Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union Ravinatha Aryasinha, Director/Europe of the Ministry of External Affairs Manisha Gunasekera and Second Secretary (Political) of the Embassy Madhuka Wicremarachchi.
Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said the Government would be launching a three-year development plan with a budget of US Dollars 3 billion with active donor participation, and that for this purpose the President of the ADB would be visiting Sri Lanka next month, Dr. Jayasundera called on the EU to become partners in this process.
Commissioner Georgiva mentioned that a team of European Commission officials who had recently visited Sri Lanka had also confirmed the significant improvements being made on the ground and indicated that she would explore the possibility of visiting Sri Lanka in order to strengthen her understanding of the issues involved, which was of strong interest to her mandate.
Meanwhile a joint press release today on the two day talks said that the meeting focussed on Sri Lanka's recent actions and intentions, in particular relating to those areas highlighted by the report of the European Commission. Both sides agreed to continue the ongoing dialogue. (Daily Mirror online)