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* Negative projection of Sri Lanka continues unabated - envoy
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 01:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 17, Geneva: Although the end of the three-decade long war has brought unprecedented socio-economic development and paved the way for reconciliation among communities, the negative projection of Sri Lanka by those with vested interests continues unabated, Sri Lanka's top envoy to the UN said.

Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said negative narratives and falsehoods on Sri Lanka continue and it is a challenge all Sri Lankans would have to continue to confront with resolve for a while longer.

Addressing the expatriate Sri Lankan community at an event to celebrate Sri Lanka's 66th anniversary of independence at the ILO premises in Geneva, Ambassador Aryasinha recalled his appeal made to the community one year ago, to reflect on what more the expatriate Sri Lankans could do to contribute towards the development of the country and to counter the negative narratives being propagated - by clarifying genuine concerns and debunking falsehoods.

"One year later, having come to know some of you better, the work you do, and the commitment you have for your country, I feel strengthened in the resolve that these obstacles are not insurmountable and that these can be overcome by working together," Aryasinha said.

Ambassador Aryasinha said some had played a catalytic role in persuading friends and associates to visit Sri Lanka and to invest in Sri Lanka, while others had sought to contribute their expertise for the betterment of the motherland.

He said it is a "great solace to see" that Sri Lanka is nowhere near the headlines in the international news now adding that more importantly no more lives were being lost on account of terrorism.

"One tends to forget this reality despite possibly all of those present having lost loved ones in the conflict which lasted almost 30 years," he noted.

"I am also greatly encouraged by what I have seen particularly over the past few months, where across Switzerland, some valiant Sri Lankans, found the time, resources and the energy to make their presence felt, by turning up and challenging the many one-sided events being organized in this country by pro LTTE elements," Ambassador Aryasinha said.

He hoped that the actions of those who had made this difference will inspire all, because these are challenging times for Sri Lanka, and particularly challenging times need particularly committed and courageous men and women to step up to the plate.

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