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SRI LANKA AND BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS IMPORTANCE OF HOLDING SECURE AND CREDIBLE ELECTION IN THE EAST

By Walter Jayawardhana

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and British Foreign Secretary David Milliband in a joint press statement issued in London said that they discussed “the importance of ensuring that the forth coming provincial elections” of the island nations Eastern Province “are credible and conducted in a secure environment.”

Eastern province, which was under the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for two decades, did not enjoy their democratic rights of electing their government like the other citizens of the country. Two, provinces were under the LTTE where no democratic rights were exercised. But months ago the Sri Lankan armed forces took the Eastern Province from the hands of the LTTE. LTTE military power is now restricted to only two districts in the Northern Province.

The joint statement was issued after the two ministers met during the morning hours of April 1 in a “friendly and frank” discussion of bilateral issues.

The statement further said, “The Foreign Ministers recognised the importance of continued close engagement and regular high level contact.”

The following is the full text of the statement: “Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollogama and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband met at the Foreign and Commonwealth office on 1April. In a cordial and frank exchange of views on the situation in Sri Lanka , the Foreign Ministers discussed the recent political developments in the Eastern Province, including the importance of ensuring that the forthcoming provincial elections are credible and conducted in a secure environment. The foreign Ministers exchanged views on the Commonwealth and discussed human rights as well as other issues of bilateral importance. The Foreign Ministers recognized the importance of continued close engagement and regular high level contact.”

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