Feb 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has stressed that everyone must unite under one voice when representing the country internationally although the country’s foreign policy may have debates within.
Addressing the Consultative Committee on Foreign Ministry recently, the Minister has pointed out that many countries including Sri Lanka’s neighbor, India represent their nation in one voice when in international platforms despite domestic differences.
Accordingly, the Minister expressed hope that all parties will unite in representing the country’s foreign policy internationally as one nation.
At the Committee, when taking up the last meeting progress regarding the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees in India, a concern raised by Member of Parliament Charles Nirmalanathan, the Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage stated that there are number of camps for asylum seekers in India.
He said more than 50,000 asylum seekers are in the camps of Tamil Nadu. He also pointed out that there are also people outside these camps while measures have been taken to repatriate considerable number back to Sri Lanka.
While the Indian Government is providing food, shelter, medication, education and the basic needs and welfare to the refugees located within the camp, they are also being monitored by the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai, he said. The matter is also being followed on a priority basis by the Foreign Ministry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic situation. In light of the situation, MP Dr. Suren Raghavan thanked the Foreign Minister’s efforts.
Minister Dinesh Gunawardena also announced to the committee that in accordance with the proposal made by the Ministry, approval has been granted for the establishment of embassies in Spain, Romania. In addition, approval has also been granted for the establishment of a consulate general office in Madagascar and to establish diplomatic relations in Liechtenstein.
When inquired regarding the progress governing the presence of Indian fishing vessels in the Sri Lankan waters and its impact upon the local fishermen, the Minister said a special discussion will continue with the Indian mission to resolve the issue.
The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Foreign Ministry chaired by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was attended by the State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya and Members of Parliament Dr. Harsha de Silva, Dilan Perera, Dr. Suren Raghavan, Chandima Weerakkody, Gamini Waleboda, Yadamini Gunawardena, Charles Nirmalanathan, Sivagnanam Shritharan, Diana Gamage, Shanakiyan Rasamanickam and many officials of the Foreign Ministry.