ARCHBISHOP MALCOM RANJITH CALLS UPON EUROPEAN UNION TO CONTINUE WITH THE GSP+ CONCESSION TO SRI LANKAN EXPORTS
Posted on September 21st, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith in a press release yesterday called upon the EU nations to continue granting the GSP+ concessions to Sri Lanka.

He said after a brutal history of 30 years conflict the concessions granted on exports to the EU is vital to return to normalcy.

“We therefore, appeal to the European Community to be strongly pro-active in its approach to Sri Lanka which has a proud history of close links with them and needs to get back to normalcy soon, he said.

Excerpts of the press release:

“For quite sometime now there has been a discussion on a possible removal of the GSP Plus special concession accorded to Sri Lanka on its exports to Europe by the European Union. This concession had in fact been graciously accorded to our country by our European friends in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster which had caused much human and economic damage in December 2004. This country cannot forget the great sense of solidarity shown to it on that occasion by the European Union both through this gesture as well as other expressions of solidarity. We are truly grateful to them for that.”

“It is time now for wounds to be healed through the fervent practice of the religious principles that constitute the soul of this country and it is our belief that the Sri Lankans are truly capable of achieving that by themselves without being pushed into it by external forces. Care and concern for human rights and for the needs of the IDPs do receive our attention. The best attitude that friendly countries in the West or in the East could take is to help us achieve a stronger sense of unity, accountability and concern for the dignity and rights of our people.”

“In this sense I would appeal personally to our friends in the European Community, to help us bring about true peace and justice to all our citizens by continuing to accord the GSP Plus facility and all the other possible assistance to Sri Lanka. Achieving a sense of trust among us would best be served by that. Such would also be the best way in which the European Community could help the speedy resettlement of the Internally Displaced People.”

“We need to experience your hand of friendship and help not only in the de-mining of the areas affected and relief and humanitarian assistance for the displaced, but also their speedy resettlement, development of vital infrastructure in the different towns and villages of the North and East and means of employment and economic activity for those affected. Sanctions will never be helpful in this kind of endeavour.”

“We therefore, fervently appeal to the European Community to be strongly proactive in its approach to Sri Lanka which has a proud history of close links with them, and needs to get back to normalcy soon.”

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