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* Australia asks international community to engage with Sri Lanka
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 12:48 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 17, Colombo: The Australian government reaffirming its commitment to work with the Sri Lankan government to achieve peace has asked the international community to engage with Sri Lanka and not isolate the country.

During a recent ceremony at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra, Australia's' Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has reaffirmed Australian government's commitment to working with the Sri Lankan government to foster peace, prosperity, stability and security in the pursuit of freedom, the rule of law and democracy.

She has said that the two countries have historic ties in various fields such as sport, trade, investment, tourism and education and the Australian government places great value on the longstanding relationship with Sri Lanka.

"The Australian government recognizes that Sri Lanka has come through a period of conflict over 30 years, nothing less than a human tragedy of massive proportions. And we have urged the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission," Bishop has said.

"And to those who say isolate Sri Lanka, I say engage with Sri Lanka," Bishop has said, adding, that was precisely what she and her colleague Scott Morrison did when in the opposition.

Bishop has said that both she and Prime Minister Tony Abbott were pleased to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo last November, and reaffirmed their commitment to working with the Sri Lanka government to improve lives of the country's citizens.

The Australian Minister has said that as part of an Australian parliamentary delegation which arrived in Sri Lanka, she toured the North to witness the situation firsthand.

Bishop led a parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka in January 2013 when she was the deputy opposition leader of Australian parliament. "Yes you can criticize, yes you can judge but you must also recognize that much has been achieved in resettlement and reconstruction," she has said.

She has expressed optimism that Sri Lanka's future will be better although the path for reconciliation would be long.

"The path for reconciliation will be long, but with the political world and the commitment that we saw during our time in Sri Lanka, I believe that the future will be bright."

"I believe that the best days for Sri Lanka lie ahead," the Australian Minister has said.

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