Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, recalling that Sri Lanka supported the State of Palestine to join as a full-fledged member of UNESCO, appreciated that Palestine is reciprocating all support to Sri Lanka.
Delivering a speech as the Chief Guest at the UN Day for Solidarity with Palestine at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Auditorium on Monday, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said Sri Lanka extended support for the early realization of a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine existing within secure and recognized borders side-by-side and at peace with Israel.
He said Sri Lanka with much appreciation notes that the state of Palestine reciprocates all support to Sri Lanka, voting in all international bodies to support Sri Lanka’s candidacy and continues to have a close and warm friendship between the two countries, further the lobbying for Sri Lanka to have its membership in the Executive Committee of UNESCO.
The Speaker noted that the State of Palestine appreciates the consistent goodwill and support it has received from Sri Lanka throughout its struggle for international recognition, and should always be counted on as a steadfast friend of Sri Lanka. For many years Sri Lanka had worked very closely with the aspiration of the Palestinian people, he said.
He pointed out that Friendly relations between Palestine and Sri Lanka commenced in early seventies and the solidarity with Palestine was strengthened although there were numerous threats and barriers.
The Speaker recalled that the Opening of the PLO embassy in Colombo in July 1975 was a significant milestone in this respect and Palestine was supported by Sri Lanka and continues to be a strong advocate for the Palestinian cause.
At the same time Sri Lanka chaired the U.N. Committee on Human Rights of Palestinians for 38 years continuously. It is a unique record, especially since Sri Lanka is a non-Muslim country, the Speaker highlighted.
He said several fields appropriate for close collaboration between Sri Lanka and Palestine have been identified. This include mutual support in international fora, especially in the context of Sri Lanka’s focus on strengthening bilateral relations with the Arab world, stronger links between two countries, in the areas of economic collaboration, political consultations, technical co-operation and the training of primary education teachers.
There are projects launched such as Organic Farming in Sri Lanka with Palestinian expertise. Palestine is providing scholarships annually to Sri Lankan students while Sri Lanka is accommodating Palestinian graduates for post graduate studies in Sri Lankan universities.
The Sri Lankan Speaker expressed hope that the People of Palestine will achieve what they are struggling for without further delay and wished Palestinians every success in their endeavors.