Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has called on the EU to further engage in Sri Lanka's development process, saying it will serve as an important confidence building measure in strengthening EU-Sri Lanka relations.
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he paid a farewell call on the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in Brussels on Wednesday (13).
The Ambassador briefed President Van Rompuy on developments in the previously conflict-affected areas in Sri Lanka and noted that many of the concerns expressed three years ago - relating to IDPs, excombatants, de-mining and High Security Zones have been significantly overcome.
A socio-economic and livelihood development programme supported by necessary infrastructure development, last year alone resulted in a 22% economic growth rate in the Northern Province. The comprehensive LLRC report aimed at steps to speed up reconciliation was delivered on schedule and the government was in the process of operationalising its key recommendations, he said.
While appreciating the support towards these processes extended by the various agencies of the EU, and President Van Rompuy's personal encouragement towards Sri Lanka, first as Prime Minister of Belgium, and later as the President of the European Council, Ambassador Aryasinha said a number of representative groups from the EU, including members of the European Parliament, who had visited Sri Lanka in recent times had experienced these developments first hand.
The Ambassador said Sri Lanka is committed to remain engaged with the EU and hoped that the EU's activities in Sri Lanka will further expand in the arena of development cooperation, which would help further consolidate development and reconciliation in the country, and serve as an important confidence building measure in strengthening EU-Sri Lanka relations.
While appreciating the EU's counter-terrorism action against the LTTE, Ambassador Aryasinha also urged that the EU continue to remain vigilant concerning the designs of the rump elements of this organization and its fronts which continue to be active in various manifestations in Europe.
President Van Rompuy who recalled his earlier visit to Sri Lanka, observed that he was happy to note these positive developments in Sri Lanka since the ending of the conflict, and said the EU would continue to remain engaged with Sri Lanka, as it had done in the past.