Oct 05, Colombo: UK Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field will arrive in Sri Lanka today on a two-day official visit, the British High Commission in Colombo said.
During his two-day visit he will hold discussions with government officials and civil organizations for discussions on reconciliation, demining and the illegal wildlife trade.
The visit to Colombo and Jaffna on the 5th and 6th October is Mr. Field's first official visit to Sri Lanka since becoming Foreign Office Minister for Asia and the Pacific.
The British Minister is scheduled to meet Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana, Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Governor of the Northern Province Reginald Cooray.
In Colombo he will meet with families affected by enforced disappearances from both the north and south of the country, and hear of their concerns and their hopes for the Office of Missing Persons. He will also meet UK and Sri Lankan education institutions at the British Council to discuss education, and the UK's world-leading role in transnational learning.
In northern Sri Lanka, the Minister will visit a UK-funded demining operation and meet families living on land cleared of mines. He will speak with British demining charity The Halo Trust and hear how UK support for demining has enabled displaced families to return home.
He will also visit the British Council teaching center in Jaffna where he will talk with young people about their aspirations for the future and the importance of education.
In a statement, the UK Minister welcoming the government's commitment to reconciliation said he is looking forward to talking with the government and affected communities.
"The UK and Sri Lanka are long-standing friends, and we are committed to supporting Sri Lanka achieve its commitments on reconciliation and human rights. I welcome the Sri Lankan government's commitment to reconciliation and strengthening democracy. I am looking forward to talking with the government and affected communities about the additional steps that are needed to deliver long-term peace and stability for all Sri Lankans, Mr. Field said.
"I commend the authorities and all those in Sri Lanka working hard to combat the Illegal Wildlife Trade, and hope to encourage plans to conserve Sri Lanka's unique and beautiful environment," Minister Mark Field further said.