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Sri Lanka to refocus foreign ties on economy, from human rights

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka wants to shift the focus of its foreign relations from human rights to the economy and seeks support to access markets and plug into supply chains, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera said.

This will help to strengthen the economy and ensure long term peace and stability, he said in an address to the diplomatic corps based in Colombo, a statement said.

“For far too long now, our relationship with the international community has been dictated by ‘human rights’,” Samaraweera said.

“We think the time has now come to focus our attention to other areas as well which will contribute to strengthening our economy.

“This will be key in ensuring long-term peace and stability and preventing the recurrence of conflict.”
Samaraweera said the new government is committed to address human rights and related issues, work on changing the political culture and achieve “meaningful reconciliation”.

Sri Lanka now wants to focus on talks to secure access for its goods and services in the global market.

“We look to you for assistance in terms of expertise in enhancing the quality of our goods and services for this purpose to be able to plug into value chains,” Samarawweera said.

“We want to focus on making our exports competitive.”

Samaraweera said he invites foreign investors to set up manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka to access the large markets in the subcontinent, making use of the island’s free trade agreements with India and Pakistan.

“Ensuring policy stability and creating a level playing field for all investors is a priority for the new government.” (Colombo/August 31 2015)





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