|Sri Lanka urges Commonwealth to take practical steps to combat terrorism|
|Thursday, 25 September 2008|
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has called on the Commonwealth to move forward to evolve more practical measures to combat terrorism and draw from its wealth of experience to enhance the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Terrorism. He made this call in his intervention during the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ meeting held today (24th September 2008) in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Speaking further, he said that it is for this purpose that Sri Lanka had proposed at the last CHOGM in Kampala to convene a Commonwealth Ministerial Conference on Terrorism in Colombo. The Minister suggested that the meeting be held at the level of Home/Interior Ministers.
The Foreign Minister further said that terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to global peace and security by causing economic and political instability. He therefore pointed out that democracies have become especially vulnerable to terrorism in today’s world. In this context, he called on the Commonwealth Member States to explore pragmatic measures for information and intelligence gathering, capacity building of relevant national institutions, technical assistance programmes in counter terrorism. In this context, he proposed that the Commonwealth Committee on Terrorism should meet early at the working level in London, to set the pace for the proposed ministerial meeting.
Minister Bogollagama speaking on the implementation of the Action Plan of the Munyonyo Statement on Respect and Understanding supported the proposal for a global event on this issue while having pointed out the need for the involvement of the wider global community to include non-Commonwealth countries and the corporate sector. He emphasized the need for this event to be held in a Commonwealth country since adequate global exposure could be achieved as the organization is indigenous in its member countries. In his intervention, the Minister referred to Sri Lanka's own experience of terrorism and identified peace building among youth as a priority of the government.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama
He also thanked the Commonwealth for funding peace building training programmes for youth in Sri Lanka. He observed that the Commonwealth Youth programme could contribute immensely through peace education programmes and indicated that Sri Lanka too was willing to participate in cross cultural exchange programmes involving school principals, teachers and students. The Minister pointed out that the youth segment in diaspora communities should also be involved in exchange programmes given that they are a major contributory factor to conflict.
The Foreign Minister noted that Sri Lanka values the work of the Commonwealth and its networking capability and recalled that Sri Lanka had in Kampala offered to host CHOGM 2011 which had been included in the final communiqué. At this meeting he reiterated this offer by Sri Lanka which was noted and referred to at the Commonwealth Heads of Government special meeting which was also concluded today. The Minister pointed out that the last time the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth met in Asia was in 1989 in Malaysia, and therefore it is appropriate that it be held in Asia at the earliest possible opportunity.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN New York
24th September 2008
(Courtesy : Ministry of Foreign Affairs )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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