President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the island today (02) after a successful visit to New York during which he addressed the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. First Lady Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa also joined the President in this tour.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, President Rajapaksa said "the world needs no policing by a few States, particularly when the UN is mandated to ensure international security, through multilateral engagement".
The President observed it is disturbing to observe the growing trend in the international arena, of interference by some, in the internal matters of developing countries, in the guise of security, and as guardians of human rights.
He asked whether such movements have led to better stability in these countries, or produced different results, due to inappropriate external factors. "In fact, the positive outcomes envisaged by those responsible have not come to pass, but indeed contributed to making those countries unstable," the President told the UN General Assembly.
During President Rajapaksa's stay in New York he met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhindawi.
During bilateral talk the President had with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon a range of topics including the post-conflict developments in Sri Lanka, the elections that were recently held in the Northern Province, the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the ways in which Sri Lanka and the United Nations can continue work together were highlighted.
The Secretary-General welcomed the extensive reconstruction, rehabilitation and restoration work carried out by the government in the Northern Province. He suggested that this work should be undertaken in a holistic manner. The Secretary-General also commended the measures taken to implement the recommendations of the LLRC.
In response to a question with regard to allegations of religious tensions in Sri Lanka, the President explained that some incidents highlighted by the media as motivated by religious concerns actually had their origins in common criminal activity. "Sri Lanka would not tolerate hatred based on religion", the President said.
The President held fruitful talks with the Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, focusing attention on the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 which will take place in Colombo in November.
“There is a very positive feeling about CHOGM and what we hope to achieve,” Mr. Sharma said. “Your theme of inclusiveness, equity and fair mindedness has very good resonance everywhere.”
The UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhindawi, along with several youth representatives involved in the World Youth Conference (WYC) 2014, called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New York.
The youth representatives briefed President Rajapaksa about the preparations underway for the WYC, which is scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in May 2014. It will be the first time the Conference is being held in an Asian country.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa attended a breakfast briefing with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) on September 26 on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The meeting was organized to promote Sri Lanka as a destination for investment and "to show that Sri Lanka is open for business.
Approximately 20 high-level officials from major companies attended the briefing. Companies such as GE, Honeywell, Forbes Magazine, Procter & Gamble, Canadian Commercial Corporation and MasterCard, among many others, were represented at the forum.
The Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Mr. Dullas Alahapperuma, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin De Vass Gunawardena, Member of Parliament Mr. Lohan Ratwatte, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne accompanied President Rajapaksa on the visit.