Countering the LTTE`s continued `misinformation campaign and enhancing Sri Lanka`s image` remains top priority for the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada, the country`s envoy W.J.S. Karunaratne told the Daily Mirror.
Mr Karunaratne said that LTTE agents were engaged in spreading incorrect and distorted information, in a bid to tarnish the country`s image and wrongly portray the Government as an anti-democratic institution with no regard to protecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law.
Mr Karunaratne said that the High Commission was lobbying important actors in Ottawa to rectify the situation and keep them informed of LTTE activities, with a view to retain the terrorist outfit on Canada`s list of proscribed organisations.
The Canadian Government, he stated, had assured him that the ban will not be lifted until the LTTE renounced violence and showed a sincere willingness to transform itself.
The High Commissioner explained that the LTTE ban, which came into force on April 8, 2006, under the Conservative Government of incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has helped to curb illegal LTTE fund raising and arms procurement activities significantly, but acknowledged that extortion remains an issue of serious concern.`We are in touch with the Canadian law enforcement agencies, to monitor the situation and see how best this problem can be tackled,` Mr Karunaratne said.
Mr Karunaratne also said that he had emphasised to the Canadian Government that the `Sri Lankan Government will not compromise on safeguarding the country`s sovereignty and territorial integrity under any circumstance. Canada continues to show interest in resolving Sri Lanka`s ethnic conflict and believes that the only way out is to arrive at a solution through peaceful negotiation,` he affirmed.
Speaking further, the High Commissioner asserted that the scope to boost economic and cultural ties with Canada was enormous, despite geographical constraints. As, Commercial and Economic Affairs Minister R.D.S. Kumararatne of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa pointed out; it is the `lack of concentration` that is preventing Sri Lanka from permeating the Canadian market more effectively. `Distance is not a barrier to access the Canadian market. What is required is to maintain concentration from initial contact of buyers to the final order,` Mr Kumararatne explained.
Meanwhile, the High Commission is exploring the possibility of signing a cultural agreement to promote cultural exchanges and friendly relations between the two countries. A Sri Lankan film festival has just been concluded with `Mansion by the Lake`, `Guerilla Marketing`, `Shadows of White` and `Against the Tide` being screened.