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Mr Speaker, I am pleased to propose this adjournment motion that is intended to develop closer links between Parliamentarians in Sri Lanka, and their peers in other countries. I should add however that there has been much progress since I first suggested this motion, nine months ago. Several Friendship Associations have been set up in the last few months, beginning with the initiative of the former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs who revived the Sri Lanka – Brazil Parliamentarians’ Friendship Association. This was a fitting tribute to the increasingly close relations between Sri Lanka and South America.

I should note, Mr Speaker, that the idea for this motion was suggested by a European Ambassador from a country that has supported us very positively over the years, but where knowledge of Sri Lanka is limited. This allows policy with regard to Sri Lanka to be governed by initiatives by a highly motivated few, who might not always have the interests of Sri Lanka at heart. I was told that Sri Lanka had an extremely good story to tell, not only about how we had defeated terrorism, but also about how we were making up for lost time in terms of developing areas that had been neglected before, and providing opportunities to those who had been deprived for ages.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

March 2011
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