Assuring the country its fullest support in the development and reconciliation processes, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman yesterday commended the progress Sri Lanka has made despite challenges in the form of natural disasters and political extremism in the island’s North and South.
Meeting President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence in Colombo yesterday, the visiting UN Official assured the country of continued support.
President Sirisena pointed out that a few extreme elements in the North compel the innocent poor people in displacement camps not to accept land and houses offered to them by the Government and to demand lands from other areas. Similarly, some political opportunists in the South level baseless allegations against the Government. But the Government is determined to implement its programs for reconciliation and development, the President said.
The strengthening of democratic institutions and enhancing strategic communication to make people aware of progressive development activities of the Government were also discussed during the meeting.
President Sirisena said Sri Lanka is committed to the United Nations Charter as a long standing member nation. Feltmen expressed his appreciation of Sri Lanka’s contribution to the United Nations in the past and assured continued support. He also referred to Sri Lanka’s contribution to the UN Peace Keeping Force. The President urged the UN to increase the intake of Sri Lankan soldiers to the UN Peace Keeping Force.
Feltman said that when he flew to Trincoamalee, he could see the devastation due to droughts in the East. Echoing his sentiments, President Sirisena said that he travelled to Kantale yesterday and observed that some areas had not received rains for nearly a year, and many cultivations have been destroyed as a result. The UN Under Secretary General assured the President that assistance would be provided under the UN Development Program.
This is the Under-Secretary-General’s third visit to Sri Lanka and is a follow up to his 2015 visit after the change of government. He also accompanied the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Secretary to the President Austin Fernando, Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Una McCauley were also present on this occasion.
UN Chief commends SL Government for establishing Office of Missing Persons
New York: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated the Sri Lankan Government for setting up an Office of Missing Persons (OMP) on Thursday.
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General in a statement said the Secretary-General commends the Government of Sri Lanka for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), “a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones.”
“The United Nations stands ready to support this process and the Secretary-General looks forward to [the Office] becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of independent commissioners,” said the Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday signed the Office of Missing Persons gazette paving the way to set up the Office on Missing Persons.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake said that President Maithripala Sirisena has endorsed the necessary cause of action to implement the Office of the Missing Persons following he signed off on the relevant Act.
The establishment of the OMP was one of the pledges of the Government to the United Nations Human Rights Council.