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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2647

The Official Visit of USG Miguel Moratinos to Sri Lanka

Colombo, 06 May, (Asiantribune.com):

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) High-Representative Miguel Moratinos visited Sri Lanka on 30 April to pay his respects to the people and Government of Sri Lanka and express the support of the UN for the Government’s efforts in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

This is the first visit by any high-level official to Sri Lanka since the heinous terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday that targeted three Catholic churches and three hotels in the country.

During his one-day visit, the High-Representative met with the political leadership, religious leaders, representatives of the civil society and the UN Resident Coordinator as well as the UN Country Team.

In his meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena, the High-Representative conveyed to the President his personal deepest sympathies as well as the heartfelt condolences of the UN Secretary-General.

Moratinos expressed to President Sirisena his solidarity and support, stressing “You are not alone”, he told the President. On his part, President Sirisena expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the visit and support of the High-Representative. He noted that his country is going through a very tragic and difficult time but that he is “determined to move forward and restore security and safety” to his country.

The High-Representative reiterated that the UN stands ready to support those efforts to help in restoring harmony, unity and social cohesion. In this context, the High-Representative stressed that there is an urgent need to find an agreeable long-term solution to the problem of the asylum seekers and refugees in Sri Lanka to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Some 1,600 refugees and asylum seekers mainly Ahmadi Muslims had been under attack in the wake of the Easter bombings.

The High-Representative also met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with whom he exchanged views on the current efforts undertaken to restore the unity and peaceful co-existence within the society.

The High-Representative was keen on meeting with Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and the Congress of Religions which included representatives of the different faith-denominations such as Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Catholics.

Moratinos commended the religious leaders for their exemplary approach, noting that “during those difficult times they came across as a unifying power demonstrating communal harmony and peace”. He emphasised that he stands behind their efforts and encouraged them to continue doing the good work they started that aim at healing the community and preventing attempts to drive a wedge between the different faith communities.

During his visit, Moratinos had the opportunity to meet briefly with the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and exchange views on the overall situation after the terrorist attacks.

The High-Representative also met earlier in the morning with the UN Country Team and representatives of the civil society.

During his meetings in Colombo, the High-Representative discussed aspects of his Plan of Action for Safeguarding Religious Sites seeking the input and guidance of the different stakeholders he met with yesterday.

- Asian Tribune -

The Official Visit of USG Miguel Moratinos to Sri Lanka
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