The Delegation for Relations with Countries of South Asia in the European Parliament held bilateral discussions with Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, on 18th July 2013.
The two sides agreed to schedule dates for the 18th European Union – Sri Lanka Joint Commission in Brussels within the next few months.
Prof. Peiris acknowledged the ongoing co-operation on counter-terrorism, and judicial action taken by several member countries of the European Union against terrorist elements inimical to Sri Lanka. He said that there are continuing fund raising activities carried out by LTTE front organizations and reiterated the importance of sustained vigilance in this regard. The Minister referred to Europol’s Terrorist Situation and Trend Report (TESAT) this year which states that these organizations are still considered active and benefitting from some support, especially in countries with a significant diaspora.
Members of the European Parliament delegation shared with the Minister their impressions gathered during their visit to the North. Minister Peiris briefed them comprehensively on implementation of the LLRC Report, the preparations under way for the Business Forum on the sidelines of CHOGM – in which business leaders from several European countries outside the Commonwealth will participate - and other current issues in Sri Lanka.
The discussions included the Erasmus Mundus Programme for postgraduate study in European Universities and co-operation in the field of fisheries.
Minister Peiris stressed that the delegation had the opportunity of making their own independent assessment because they had visited the country as recently as last year, and they could now observe for themselves the progress since then. The government, he said, welcomes this, because what is important is that foreign delegations should be able to rely on their own judgment rather than be influenced by propaganda.
The delegation from the European Parliament was led by Ms. Jean LAMBERT, and the other members of the delegation were Mr. Thomas MANN, Mr. Salvador SEDO ALABART, Mr. Horst SCHNELLHARDT, Mr. Niccolo RINALDI, Mr. Nirj DEVA,Ms. Signe OHAKAS, Mr. Francois MASSOULIE, Ms. Ainhoa MARKULETA, Ms. Sabine MEYER, Ms. Francisca NEHER, Ms. Andrea SEIDENSTUECKER and Ms. Bettina EXNER-MARA.