(October 17, Paris, Sri Lanka Guardian) During a two day visit to Paris on the 12th and 13th of October 2011, Minister of External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris met French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé at the Quai D’Orsay. Minister Juppé welcomed efforts of economic revival and reconciliation projects in post war Sri Lanka, while signaling as one of France’s priority interests and concerns, “Sri Lanka’s plans for greater regional autonomy”. Minister Peiris noted the significant growth in Sri Lanka’s national economy and affirmed readiness to encourage future investments in development projects.
Prof. GL Peiris with Jean-David Levitte
Minister Peiris also met Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, Senior Diplomatic advisor to France’s President Sarkozy at the Elysée Palace where Minister Peiris stated that Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee, a local body, must be given a fair chance to reveal its report due next month. Recalling the unbiased assistance given to Sri Lanka during the war and after, Minister Peiris expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Levitte who in turn assured cooperation to Sri Lanka in its nation building efforts.
Addressing a think-tank gathering of intellectuals, ambassadors and journalists at the “Académie Diplomatique Internationale”, institute for modern political discourse, Minister Peiris expressed his views on the topic of “ Post-war Sri Lanka: problems and prospects”. He presented what he termed “a realistic picture of contemporary development in Sri Lanka” and took questions from the audience.
Meeting with the Director General of UNESCO, Madam Irina Bokova at the headquarters in Paris, the Minister briefed her on the development activities taking place across the country and the special emphasis placed at a policy level on ensuring that all forms of development were felt by every citizen and stressed the premium placed on education. Noting that the only renewable energy in the world was human capital, the Director General commended the efforts undertaken by Sri Lanka in investing in this sphere of activity, especially given the very high rate of literacy in the country.
During his short stay in Paris, Minister of External Affairs was accorded an exclusive interview to French journalist Jacques Follorou of “Le Monde”. Minister Peiris expressed that a greater understanding and a wider perception of the actual situation in Sri Lanka and the reconciliation measures undertaken by the government is what he aspires to communicate during his visit to Paris.
The Minister also attended a working lunch hosted by Ambassador Jayatilleka for selected French legislators including the president of the Sri Lanka-France friendship association of parliamentarians.
He met several ambassadors to France at dinner, and ambassadors to UNESCO at lunch, totaling over thirty envoys, at which he was able to explain further Sri Lanka’s on-going efforts at reconciliation.