President returns after successful Bali visit
Host of benefits for Sri Lanka:
President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in the country on Saturday after
attending the two-day Bali Democracy Forum IV, held in Bali, Indonesia
on December 8 and 9. President Rajapaksa attended the forum, on an
invitation extended by Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The Bali Democracy forum was held at the Bali International Convention
Centre in Nusa Dua.
The theme of the BDF IV was “Enhancing Democratic Participation in a
Changing World: Responding to Democratic Voices”.
The forum was held with the participation of 54 countries from the
Asia Pacific region. Nine heads of states and high level representatives
from other countries attended.. Around 66 countries and international
organizations attended as observers.
The President during his address to the forum pointed out, that
meaningful democracy requires closest interaction between government and
He said that the mechanisms of government must have effective
application at grassroot level, to address issues and to provide relief.
“It has always been important to us to ensure that the forms and
institutions of democracy, far from being an ideal remote from the
people, should be part and parcel of their experience”, the President
President Rajapaksa also pointed out to the forum that Sri Lanka was
the first country in Asia to have accorded women the right to vote, and
also one of the oldest democracies in the world.
He also drew the attention of the gathering to the diversity of Sri
Lanka’s experience of constitutional and electoral systems and said that
it is probably unique in the annals of political history.
The President on the sidelines of the forum held bi-lateral talks
with the Indonesian President, Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin
Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani and Brunei Sultan Hassanal-Bolkiah.
During discussions, the Qatar Prime Minister said his country’s
investors were very keen to invest in Sri Lanka. He said they were
willing to start super luxury hotels in Colombo and other tourist hot
During discussions the Sultan of Brunei conveyed to the President
that his country’s investors were very keen to explore opportunities in
Sri Lanka, especially in the the fields of agriculture and tourism.
The Indonesian President during bi-lateral talks had told the
President Rajapaksa that Indonesia will always give its fullest support
to Sri Lanka to safeguard the country’s independence, sovereignty, and
The two leaders discussed ways to expand the strong bilateral ties
between the two countries in all sectors. President Rajapaksa
appreciated the support Indonesia has given during UNHRC and the United
Nations and recalled with gratitude the assistance given by Indonesia to
Sri Lanka’s humanitarian operation.
The President on Friday visited the historic Borobudur Viharaya and
paid homage. Central Java Deputy Mayor Rustriningsih welcomed the
President to the temple.
The Borobudur Viharaya dating back to the 9th century and situated in
Central Java, is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. The seven
storey viharaya has been built to depict various stages of the Buddha’s
life, including the attainment of Nibbana.
The uppermost floor of the viharaya building which is 36 metres in
height has a main stupa which has 72 smaller stupas surrounding it.
The deputy mayor said she highly valued and appreciated the visit of
a Buddhist Head of State to the temple.
Ven Chittabutta Thera, a bhikkhu inmate of the temple chanted seth
pirith and invoked blessings on President Rajapaksa. The President
offered ‘atapirikara’ and other mementos to the members of the Maha