Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of Maldives and Mrs. Nasreena Gayoom were welcomed on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport by Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, on Wednesday, (16).
The most valued quality of this Avurudu festival is taking the ideal of understanding and cohesion beyond the family, to the village, the city and the entire country; President Mahinda Rajapaksa states in his Sinhala-Tamil New Year message.
Prime Minister D.M. Jayarathne and his family visited, the Carlton House Tangalle this morning to greet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family for the New Year. They were cordially welcomed by the President who is in Tangalle with his family for the new year celebrations.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the historic Kataragama Sacred City on Thursday. The President first visited the historic Kirivehera and received blessings after participating in religious observances. President Rajapaksa also joined in the Lakhanda Maha Adishtana Ashirvada Pooja at the Kirivehera Sacred Site. He joined in the Pinkama by lighting oil lamps.
'Avurudu Nekath Seettuwa', the traditional document that lists the 'nekath' (auspicious times) for the customs to be followed during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday (10) at Carlton House in Tangalle.
The traditional document was handed over to the President by the Minister of Culture and the Arts T. B. Ekanayake at an event organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts.
Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts Wasantha Ekanayake and Ministry officials were present.
India said that what the UN Human Rights Council was trying to do on the Sri Lankan issue through the resolution adopted recently was beyond its mandate. The Indian Government says it is not for the UN to investigate Sri Lanka and that India’s position has always been it is a national prerogative to investigate human rights issues.
The recent decision taken by India to abstain from voting for the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council has given India an opening to work with Sri Lanka more closely on certain issues, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said in an interview with CNN IBN.
Ms Singh said that the Sri Lankan Government knows very well what India expects particularly on the Tamil issue. “They know very well what we expect in protecting the interests of the Tamils and what we would like to do working with them,” she said.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said that India has a very close relationship with Sri Lanka and that India works closely consistently with the Sri Lankan Government in protecting mutual interests.
At the UNHRC debate on Sri Lanka last month, Indian Permenent Reprsentative in Geneva, Dilip Sinha also expressed opposition to the clause 10 of the resolution calling for an international probe and voted in favour of removal of the operative clause, though US and EU members easily bulldozed the move.
“This year the resolution had a certain provision that can't go along with that policy of ours which was introducing the concept of international investigation which was there in the operative paragraph ten,” the Indian envoy clarified. “This was a matter of concern for us which made us decide to abstain on the resolution”.
In 2013 too, the US attempted to bring in a clause similar to para 10, but India said it could not vote in favour of such a resolution, and the clause was subsequently removed.
There are no minorities in this country and all citizens have equal rights to live as one nation and one people with same laws and facilities without any discrimination, said President Mahind Rajapaksa.
“There cannot be any minorities,” President Rajapaksa said speaking in Tamil. “We all are Sri Lankans who love the Motherland and nobody can deny this reality.”
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was speaking at the "National Unity Convention" held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo on April 07.
The "National Unity Convention" conducted by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration was held under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa
The Convention was organized to build consensus on a charter to preserve unity in diversity in Sri Lanka and will be in line with the National Policy Framework for Social Integration (NPFSI), launched by the Ministry in 2012.
The President also pointed out that all people, irrespective of their religion or ethnicity, celebrated the victory of the Sri Lankan cricket team the previous evening.
“There were no differences among Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, or religious differences, in the celebrations,” President Rajapaksa said. “Those from all regions, the North, South, East, West and the Hill Country joined hands in a great show of national unity and feeling for one’s Motherland.”
The President also said that to build national harmony, it was necessary to understand the great concept of humanity and use it as a firm foundation.
The forum provided an opportunity for over 1,500 eminent citizens from various segments of society, including public officials, religious leaders, civil society and Sri Lanka’s expatriate community, among others, to exchange views and interact.
In 2012, the Ministry launched the NPFSI with the intention of addressing the country’s particular social integration needs. According to the Ministry website, “the NPFSI was founded on a rights-based approach, highlighting the significance of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and the duties of the state to enhance social justice and inclusion.”