The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning in New York City. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly taking place this week.
President Rajapaksa said that with the election of Mr. Madani to the office of OIC Secretary General, Sri Lanka hopes to facilitate greater collaboration and cooperation between OIC countries. Mr. Madani took over as Secretary General in January of 2014.
“We don’t consider Sri Lanka as outside the OIC,” Mr. Madani told President Rajapaksa. “We consider it as inside OIC.
Expressing that the OIC appreciates the “pioneering steps” the President has taken, Mr. Madani said that the organisation has “continuous admiration” for Sri Lanka and looks forward to helping Sri Lanka enhance relations with OIC member states.
Discussing certain religiously-motivated, isolated incidents that have occurred in the recent past, President Rajapaksa assured Mr. Madani that the Government will take immediate action to deal with any incidents against the Muslim community.
“I will look after the Muslim community like my own brothers,” President Rajapaksa said.
The President encouraged Mr. Madani and other OIC member countries to visit Sri Lanka to see for themselves the ground realities in the country and how many diverse communities coexist peacefully.
Mr. Madani invited President Rajapaksa to make another visit to Saudi Arabia.
Sri Lanka currently has 14 diplomatic missions in the Middle East region – an indication of the importance the Government places in enhanced cooperation with Muslim majority countries.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne, PermanentRepresentative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to theUnited States Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam were present during this meeting.