The two main constituents of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG), the United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), seem to be at loggerheads over the country’s foreign policy decision making.
Commenting on the government’s decision to impose sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) State Minister of Highways and SLFP stalwart Dilan Perera maintained that he doesn’t see any difference between some of the actions of the USA and that of North Korea.
“As you know North Korea has been one country that has been violating some of these conventions and is also a menace to world peace. By saying that, I am not saying that the US is not a menace as well. In my book I don’t see any difference between some of the actions of the USA and that of North Korea.,” he said.
Perera said that Israel is another country that had violated UN conventions and added that Sri Lanka has to always realize that Israel is not second to North Korea in violating some of the agreements.
“Even in the so called consensual government, the SLFP has always been saying that the former UNP Foreign Minister should be very careful when he takes sides with regard to issues dealing with Israel. The SLFP has been very clear that when it comes to UN resolutions and conventions violated by Israel its position is that Israel is not second to North Korea,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the issue, State Minister for Finance Eran Wickramaratne said that Sri Lanka will defend its territorial integrity and markets. In response to Ceylon Today’s query with regard to the incumbent government’s rise to power was based on implementing a non-aligned foreign policy, Wickramaratne said,…”Our policy is a very pro-Sri Lanka policy where we will defend the territorial integrity of our country. Also we will defend our markets, as the living standards of the Sri Lanka people depend on our market. That distinguishes our foreign policy from the foreign policy of the earlier regime. The earlier regime put our markets at risk. We actually lost some of our markets.”
When asked whether the economic sanction had nothing to do with North Korea’s nuclear programme, he responded that Sri Lanka is a signatory to various international conventions. He went on to note that the Government wants to be sure that they are in compliance with our international obligations.
When asked whether Sri Lanka would continue its trade and diplomatic ties with Israel despite its controversial nuclear programme, Wickramaratne responded, “There are many countries in the world that have nuclear capability over a long period of time, if that was done in a peaceful manner, then nuclear power is used for that.
Obviously if nuclear power is being used to threaten other countries then it is natural. We are small country; we will work through the United Nations in opposing such aspects.”
Speaking to Ceylon Today, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP, Bimal Rathnayake said that as a country which faced so many troubles due to the agendas of imperialists, Sri Lanka should have stayed neutral in the North Korea – USA dispute.
“North Korea, unlike USA has not attacked any country in the world and it has not connections with international terrorist organizations.
Also North Korean authorities have never interfered in internal affairs of other countries. But they did not act according to the wishes of the USA. This is why the USA wants to suppress North Korea by imposing economic sanctions,” Rathnayake said.
Meanwhile, Joint Opposition (JO) Leader Dinesh Gunawardena stressed that since taking the office, this Government has followed a pro-American principle.
He said, “As a country Sri Lanka should encourage those parties to come to an effective solution so the peace of the world will be protected. That is what we did in the past. The Government should keep it in its mind before make such haste decisions.”