“I have learnt my Sri Lanka lesson and will promote your cause for peace and development,” French Senator Nathalie Goulet said when she called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President's House in Kandy, Monday evening (19). "Certain countries and groups have the habit of expressing their views and opinions about other countries without knowing ground realities there,” said the Senator, while adding that Sri Lanka should tell her story with much vigour before the world.
Ms. Goulet, the Senator from Orne, Normandy, was visiting Sri Lanka to prepare groundwork for the proposed visit by the Senate and business delegation to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum to be held on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in November this year. During the first two days of her stay in the country, she had visited Hambantota, Jaffna, and Trincomalee and was scheduled to travel to Anuradhapura as well.
President Rajapaksa thanked Senator Goulet for her support to Sri Lanka at many international fora. “Come and see for yourselves” is what I am telling those who are critical of Sri Lanka. “When the conflict was raging, almost every day dead bodies came from the North to the South. The entire country was engulfed with terror. The situation is totally different today,” The President added.
President Rajapaksa said the government is now in the process of reconstructing everything that was destroyed by LTTE terrorists. Since the end of the conflict, the larger portion of development funds were spent not on the South but on the North, President pointed out.
Senator Goulet, while emphasizing the need to further enhancing investment and trade between the two countries, said she had seen firsthand the rapid development-taking place in the North. "The voice of every community should be heard in this process,” she said. The role played by the security forces in the development process in the North is impressive, the Senator added.
Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Sri Lanka's Ambassador in France Karunarathne Hangawatte, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunathilake Amunugama and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Kshenuka Seneviratne were also present at the discussion.