Sri Lanka will maintain neutral foreign policy – President

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 1 2020

Sri Lanka’s location is of strategic importance and therefore, our country is attractive to many parties, in this context, Sri Lanka has chosen neutrality as its foreign policy with the top priority being mutually beneficial development cooperation and being open to foreign investments, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

He said this in a brief conversation with four newly appointed Ambassadors to Sri Lanka, following presentation of their credentials at the President’s House yesterday (30). 

The Ambassadors of the Republic of Korea, Jeong Woonjin, the Federal Republic of Germany, Holger Lothar Seubert, Holy See (Apostolic Nuncio-designate Monsignor Brian Udaigwe) and Switzerland, Dominik Furgler presented their credentials to the President.  

Explaining Sri Lanka’s policy towards the Indian Ocean during the discussion with the new Envoys, the President said the Indian Ocean should be a free zone open to every country. 

The President said the priority of the Government as well as the people were to achieve rapid development.   

“The economy was weakened due to terrorism. We required foreign investments for speedy development. China came forward to invest in development projects. It was only a commercial transaction but some described this as a manifestation of a pro-China policy. Sri Lanka is a friend of all countries,” the President explained. President Rajapaksa pointed out that the construction of the Hambantota Port with funding from China was a project with enormous development potential, although some call it a debt trap. He said the previous Government had leased the Hambantota Port to China but it is being used only for commercial purposes. 

Expressing their views, the Ambassadors commended both the President and the people for successfully controlling the COVID–19 pandemic. “Sri Lanka is so safe,” Woonjin remarked.

Seubert said he is pleased to be appointed as an Envoy to Sri Lanka that has overcome the COVID–19 pandemic. 

“We are not here to lecture you but to offer any possible assistance. We are certain that Sri Lanka is capable of choosing what needs to be done. We are ready to extend our cooperation to achieve the development aspirations of Sri Lanka”, Seubert and Furgler added. 

Communicating the congratulations of Pope Francis to the President for the massive mandate received during the Elections, Udaigwe said the geographical location is a great gift to Sri Lanka.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 1 2020

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