Aug 02, Colombo: Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has recently enlightened a group of British parliamentarians, who are on a visit to the island, on the current developments in the country.
The Minister has met with the group of British MPs for an in-depth discussion on the current situation at the Ministry on Tuesday.
The Minister has briefed them comprehensively on political developments including implementation of the Report of the Lessons Leant and Reconciliation Commission, as well as issues relating to investment, trade and tourism, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Prof. Peiris has discussed a wide array of issues with the UK legislators.
Among the matters discussed during this session were the conduct of an island-wide census after almost thirty years, the launch of a trilingual policy, issues relevant to the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review process and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which will be held in Sri Lanka next month, the Ministry said.
The Minister has also briefed the delegation on the preparations being made in Colombo to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next year, including the establishment of a National Task Force.
The Minister has pointed out that UK is Sri Lanka's largest trading partner within the European Union, and the total trade between the two countries, now at a threshold exceeding US$ 1.2 billion, is continuing to grow.
Furthermore 106,000 tourists from the UK have visited Sri Lanka last year and the number is expected to grow.
Considering these developments, the Minister has invited the UK to make investments in Sri Lanka, especially in tourism infrastructure.
Prof. Peiris has observed that the government had cooperated with the UK Border Agency in facilitating the return of unsuccessful asylum seekers. He has stressed that none of these returnees had faced any harassment or intimidation, contrary to malicious propaganda carried out by some diaspora groups.
The Minister appreciating the visit by the British Parliamentarians to observe developments at first hand, has expressed the hope that the visit will help dispel misperceptions generated by the disinformation campaign being carried out by some groups with vested interests against Sri Lanka.
During their stay in Sri Lanka, the group of MPs will visit Kandy, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts.
The UK delegation consists of eight Members of Parliament belonging to the Conservative Party, and one Member of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, the Ministry said.
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in UK Dr. Chris Nonis, British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka John Rankin, and Sri Lankan MP Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena also have participated in the discussion.