Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s active commitment to dialogue and engagement with the Commonwealth at a virtual meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland in New York.
Foreign Minister Peiris recalled that Sri Lanka as a founding member of the Commonwealth remains proactive and committed to the values, principles and objectives of the Organization. Sri Lanka looks forward to further collaboration with the Commonwealth in a number of areas including commerce, education, vocational training and climate change. The Minister stated that Sri Lanka has been successful in Mangrove restoration and has emerged as a Commonwealth Blue Charter leader. Sri Lanka recently initiated a “climate and green economy” focusing on food security centric agricultural production and renewable energy.
The Commonwealth is a celebration of diversity with all of its Member States enjoying a common objective, making it unique and exhilarating stated the Foreign Minister. All of its Members have the advantage of a common law background but have followed different avenues of development. The Foreign Minister also briefed Secretary-General Scotland on the steps taken by local institutions in the country with respect to reconciliation. This is an on going process, and the country requires sufficient space for the local institutions to deliver on their mandates. The work done by these institutions cannot be replaced or taken over by external bodies. He referenced the ad-hoc mechanism that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is trying to establish and stated that it is not acceptable to Sri Lanka and not in line with the spirit and letters of the UN Charter.
Secretary-General Scotland warmly recalled her visits to Sri Lanka in 2018 and 2019 and appreciated the close engagement that Sri Lanka has consistently maintained with the Commonwealth. She thanked Sri Lanka for hosting the Commonwealth Law Ministers Conference in 2019 and stated that the Commonwealth appreciates Sri Lanka’s continued collaboration with the Commonwealth in a wide spectrum of areas including trade, sports, youth and countering violent extremism.
Sri Lanka is one of the 54 Member States of the Commonwealth and hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013.
19 September, 2021