Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister leaves for Korea starting a world tour

Aug 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris will be leaving for Korea today starting a world tour that includes several counties and a Non-Aligned Movement summit prior to attending the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva next month.

The Minister leaves Monday on an official visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the invitation of his counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Kim Sung -Hwan, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

En route to Korea, Minister Peiris will be in Singapore for discussions on counter terrorism and its aftermath.

During his visit to Korea, Minister Peiris will hold discussions with Korean Prime Minister, Kim Hwangsik, his Korean counterpart, Kim Sung-hwan, the Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o, and members of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee of the National Assembly.

Minister Peiris will also meet with the Chairman of the Exim Bank to discuss the renewal in 2012 of the Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF), where concessionary loan assistance is provided for development projects in Sri Lanka. The priority areas for EDCF assistance are water supply, road, IT, human resources, health and the power sector. A meeting will also be held between Minister Peiris and the President of the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) which provides grant aid and technical co-operation to Sri Lanka.

In consideration of the vast investment potential that is available today to South Korean investors in Sri Lanka, discussions will also take place with heads of reputed business support organizations in South Korea which include the Federation of Korean Industries, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Korea International Trade Association, the Ministry statement said.

Minister Peiris is also scheduled to deliver an inaugural keynote address at an international seminar organized by Jesus College, University of Cambridge, to consider the manner in which terrorism affects the stability of countries and international financial markets. The other inaugural address on this occasion will be made by Dominic Grieve, QC, Attorney General of England and Wales. The participants at this seminar will be judges, lawyers, academics, members of think tanks and other professionals from the United Kingdom and across the world.

The Minister of External Affairs will address the Official Commemorative Meeting to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which will be held in Belgrade, the Republic of Serbia from 5th to 6th September 2011. The meeting in Belgrade, which will also be attended by the President of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadic and approximately 36 Ministers of Foreign Affairs from around the world, would be a landmark meeting to revamp the Movements principles which were formally agreed at the Summit held in Belgrade in 1961.

Subsequently, he will visit Jordan for bilateral consultations on Sri Lanka’s post conflict situation with the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh.

From Jordan, Minister Peiris will visit Geneva immediately prior to the forthcoming Session of the Human Rights Council, which will begin on 12th of September, in order to engage with members of the international community.

During this preparatory visit, the Minister will primarily interact with the president and member countries of the Human Rights Council, other members of the UN family, as well as representatives of civil society, on the development, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts currently being carried out by the government of Sri Lanka.

As in the past, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries, will lead Sri Lanka’s delegation to the Human Rights Council Sessions and continue the related interactions.

Both Ministers will be joined by Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Environment and Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena, Member of Parliament together with the relevant government officials including the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam.

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