Lord Malloch Brown to visit Sri Lanka this week

 British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Lord Malloch Brown is due to visit Sri Lanka from July 14-17.

This is his first visit to Sri Lanka after becoming State Minister. He is due to meet President Mahinda Rajapakse, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and other Government Ministers during the four-day visit.

He is also scheduled to visit the Eastern Province and meet with Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's new High Commissioner in London Nihal Jayasinghe met with Brown at his office in the House of Commons last Wednesday. They discussed the forthcoming visit to Sri Lanka and other mutual areas of interest to both countries.

During the meeting High Commissioner Jayasinghe informed Lord Brown that Sri Lanka has fulfilled all its international obligations to treaties

it has ratified. He said the allegations levelled against the Sri Lankan Government by certain Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) on human rights violations are without foundation.

"There were a large number of Tamils who left the country using false names. Some had joined the LTTE voluntarily and others abducted by the LTTE were in the list of missing people. The Government has been blamed for these disappearances", he noted.

The High Commissioner also asserted that some people have been abducted for ransom and the government cannot be held responsible for it. The police make full enquiries into these incidents when they are reported. Sri Lanka also has a legal mechanism to punish the armed forces for any  excesses they commit, he pointed out.

In this kind of difficult situation in Sri Lanka, the Government tries to implement its obligations to the treaties which are considered as criteria to obtain the GSP+ concessions from the EU countries, he said.

The High Commissioner requested British support to get the concessions for Sri Lankan exports and the signs were positive.

Lord Brown had assured continued British assistance to expand the teaching of English in rural areas in Sri Lanka, where the lack of English knowledge of English is a major obstacle for young people.

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