Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasingha yesterday said Sri Lanka s Foreign Policy should target principled interaction and constructive engagement with expatriates, other national governments and international organizations in a manner that served Sri Lanka s interests and, at the same time, preserve and protect national sovereignty.
In a speech at the 22nd Annual Sessions of the Organization of Professional Associations in Colombo yesterday evening the Minister said some expatriates had established and misused widespread international links to generate and propagate anti-Sri Lanka propaganda, raise funds and support terrorists cause.
These persons have also managed to foster links with and continue to influence politicians, media personnel and other opinion makers in their host countries. We still continue to see the results of their efforts which emanate from time to time in the international media and at international fora. The Channel 4 canard was one and the US Secretary of State s misstatement was another. We have effectively countered the first and are taking effective measures to seek redress in the United Kingdom in respect of that fabricated footage. Due to our timely action, the United States Department of State has acknowledged on record that Mrs. Clinton s statement on the use of rape as a weapon of war did not refer to the Sri Lankan conflict in the 2006 to 2009 period, the Minister said.
He noted that while Sri Lanka has been able to effectively respond and counter many of these blatantly false stories and manipulations of fact, Sri Lanka still needs to engage with these groups and convince them that in the aftermath of the defeat of terrorism, they may be able to devote their misspent energies more productively and contribute to the development of conflict affected areas and ensure a better future for the people in those areas.
These people represent a vast pool of resources human and financial who must be co-opted into the national initiatives for reconstruction and development, launched by the Government, for the betterment of those areas which witnessed precious little development for decades due to the unlawful presence of the LTTE, he said.
While some efforts have been made in this direction, more has to be done. Our foreign policy must be targeted towards principled interaction and constructive engagement with these groups, other national governments and international organizations in a manner that serves Sri Lanka s interests and, at the same time, preserves and protects national sovereignty, he added.