Luxembourg is committed to support Sri Lanka, said Mr. Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, when Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha, paid a farewell call on him recently at his office in Luxembourg.
Mr. Asselborn said Sri Lanka has made significant progress since the conflict ended, and in general has shown an impressive performance in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in the area of poverty reduction.
Ambassador Aryasinha earlier briefed the Deputy Prime Minister on particularly the post-conflict development process in Sri Lanka, and had appreciated the contribution made towards it by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Ambassador Aryasinha informed Mr. Asselborn that while trade between Sri Lanka and Luxembourg was picking up, an increasing number of tourists from Luxembourg were beginning to visit Sri Lanka. He added that Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU grew by 24.4% compared to the corresponding period of 2010, and amounted to 33.8% of the total exports of Sri Lanka, while with respect to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) he said, European investment in Sri Lanka in 2011 was 18.4% of the total FDI attracted by the country. He noted the increased engagement between the two countries including the visit to Luxembourg by Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank last year. Ambassador Aryasinha also appreciated the successful finalization of an ‘Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation’ between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Sri Lanka in a single sitting last year, which is expected to be signed shortly. He hoped the framework provided by this agreement will give added momentum to furthering bi-lateral economic relations. Ambassador also sought the support of the travel authorities in Luxembourg in furthering tourist potential from Luxembourg to Sri Lanka. Commenting on the activities being carried out by the rump elements of the LTTE in the EU countries , Ambassador Aryasinha urged that financial and banking centers such as Luxembourg must keep a close eye to prevent their systems being possibly abused by such groups.
Deputy Prime Minister Asselborn welcomed the increased economic interaction that was taking place between the two countries and the higher visibility Sri Lanka was having in Luxembourg. He assured that the Luxembourg authorities have already taken serious note of the activities of groups such as the LTTE and that they would keep a watchful eye for any such activity.