The Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Pio Mariani, said Sri Lankans needed a lot of courage and strength to go along the path of peace, but if they did so, Italy, which was one of the friendly countries, would stand by and help Sri Lanka.
He was addressing a large gathering the Muslim community at Kinniya, in Trincomalee last Thursday, after he ceremonially opened the new state of the art Kinniya Hospital and Two New schools, Al Adhan MV and Kuddikarachchi Muslim Vidyalaya, constructed at a cost of 2.3 million Euros by the Italian Government.
Associated with the Italian Ambassador were the Minister of Cooperatives and Trincomalee District MP Najeeb. A. Majeed and Head Of Sri Lanka Mission, of the Civil Protection Force of Italy Agostino Miozzo,
The Chief Incumbent of the Bodhirajarama Viharaya at China Bay, in Trincomalee, the Ven. Dehiowita Piyatissa Thera said it was heartwarming to see, in a district where the three main communities lived, such a project taking effect under the `Mahinda Chinthanaya Programme` and it should be whole heartedly welcomed with many thanks to the Italian Government and people for helping a worthy cause.
Speaking on the situation in Sri Lanka the Ambassador said Sri Lankans suffered a lot because of the Tsunami. `A lot of people died and we have remembered them in the moments of silence observed moments ago. Unfortunately there is a conflict in your country, which prevents you from developing and reaching the economic goals that you can achieve. I will like to wish for your country and all other communities in your country to be tolerant and friendly. You need a lot of courage and strength to go along the path of peace but if you do it, Italy is one of the friendly countries that will stay by your side and help you.`
At the outset Ambassador Pio Mariani thanked the people of Kinniya for the wonderful welcome he received that morning, `because really it was very impressive and we are grateful.
The Ambassador said `On the requests made by Minister Najeeb. A. Majeed we have been able to build this nice Hospital, which I believe is quite impressive and I hope the people of Kinniya will like it and I hope it will serve the people for a long time to come. I believe I am speaking on behalf of the entire Italian delegation of the Peoples Protection Force from Milano City in Northern Italy, where the Architects were Andrea Tilli and Babara Reggi, Co-ordinator for Sri Lanka Mission Luigi Grandi, Engineer Sergio Dell`Anna and NGO (AISPO) Monitoring Officer Francesco Tropea and dozens of others,` he said.
`I wish to thank the people of Kinniya for the very warm and beautiful welcome. I have been in this situation a lot of times. I have participated in a lot of ceremonies but I must say this one one of the best with all the schoolchildren waving the flags of Italy and Sri Lanka together. You all must be acquainted with the Italian representatives for some time because you have had the Italian NGO AISPO working in the field hospital over the last two years. Now of course you have your own hospital, but of course, I wish that you will keep healthy and sound all your life but in case of a need for a hospital now you know where to go,` he said.
`The NGO AISPO will stay on help you for another year in operating this hospital. So I am proud that the Italian Government and the people will undertake several more projects of this nature in Sri Lanka and are ready to help its people at any given time of need,` he said.
The visitors were welcomed by several exponents of `Cheena Adi` trained by Annavi W. A. U. Mohamed displaying their skills, while the children of T. B. Jayah School welcomed the guests by waving the Italian and Sri Lanka flags together.
Media Secretary to the Ministry of Cooperatives, Kabeer Ahamed was also present and coordinated the Media arrangements for the ceremonies.
Government agent Trincomalee, (Retd.) Major General Ranjith de Silva, Consultant on Health, Dr. S. Devarajan, Deputy Director of Health Services Dr.Mrs Gnana Gunalan, and DMO Kinniya Dr. M. A. Nazeer, DIG Eastern Range Upali Gunasekera and SSP Trincomalee Division Edison Gunatilleke and ASPs Sarath Mulleriya and Jayasena and OIC Kinniya, IP Lakmal were also present and participated in the ceremonies.