Mangala says Sri Lanka is an "outlier in the age of the Arab Spring"


The non-violent Sri Lankan struggle for freedom encompassed Sri Lankans of all races, religions, classes, castes and creeds in a ‘Rainbow Revolution’ that led to the elections of January 8 and a subsequent return of democracy to Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday said welcoming U.S. Secrtetary of State John Kerry to the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations.

"In the context of her peaceful democratic transition, Sri Lanka is an outlier in the age of the Arab Spring and perhaps a role model for transitioning nations. Here in Sri Lanka, instead of bullets, pellets and stones, our citizens united for change by using the ballot box," he declared.

"The first 100 days of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government have entrenched the importance of rule of law, basic freedoms and good governance.

"The apex of the 100 day programme, was of course last Tuesday, when the 19th Amendment to our constitution was passed with only one Member of Parliament opposing.

"The idea that ‘our best days are yet to come’ is thought to be central to the American dream. Today as we rebuild Sri Lanka on the pillars of democracy, ethnic harmony and reconciliation, we too are dreaming of better days to come

"By committing ourselves to the safeguarding of universal values and by respecting international system regulations that sustain global stability, we have seen Sri Lanka emerge from a non-traditional period of self-isolation," Samaraweera said.

Saying that America is known all over the world as the land of opportunity, he said that Sri Lanka herself has recently embarked on a journey of opportunity and hope.

"The values of American democracy are enshrined in her history by the collective American experience of fighting to secure those freedoms. Those of us who live in the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ have proven beyond doubt that we too are willing to struggle to transform Sri Lanka into a land of opportunity and plenty," the minister said.

"The transformation of domestic political norms and the parallel shift in our foreign policy has enabled a renewed engagement with the world, and especially with our fellow democracy, the United States of America.

"The partnership dialogue between our two countries, announced today by Secretary Kerry will formalize this consultative process on an annual basis. We also welcome today’s pledge to support our economic development efforts."

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