Sri Lanka has submitted a proposal to India on renovating and rehabilitating parts of the strategically important Kankasanthurai (KKS) harbour in Jaffna in the north, according to media reports.

The Sri Lankan Ports Authority (SPLA) recently submitted a list of “what the Lankan government expects at KKS port” to the High Commission officials. SLPA chairperson P. Wickrama attended the meeting.

“Besides repairing the breakwater, Indian expertise could also help in dredging the sea bed off the KKS port and rehabilitating the jetties,” said Agil Hewageegana, senior SLPA engineer. He said India could also help build shipyards and roads.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday announced that the government had successfully negotiated a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the Russian Federation.

A statement issued here said the second round of bilateral negotiations was held in Moscow from September 16 to 18 to conclude a bilateral treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

“During negotiations, the two sides exchanged views on current developments relating to enhanced cooperation on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and emphasised the need to cooperate at the international, regional and bilateral levels, in particular in the combating of international terrorism and organised crime,” it said.

Sri Lanka has recently concluded several bilateral mutual legal assistance treaties in the context of combating serious international crimes such as those relating to terrorism and narcotic trafficking.

The current text negotiated in Moscow is due to be signed between Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Russian Foreign Minister during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka in October 2009.

It said Australia has expressed appreciation for Sri Lanka’s cooperation on the people smuggling and trafficking issues at a meeting between Mr. Bogollagama and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith on Tuesday on the margins of the 64th U.N. General Assembly sessions.

Mr. Bogollagama informed Mr. Smith that the resettlement of the internally-displaced persons (IDPs) is foremost on the government’s agenda.

Mr. Bogollagama referred to the resettlement of IDPs in Jaffna and Mannar and explained that the screening of approximately 1,60,000 persons had been completed with 1,10,000 being issued identity cards.

“With regard to releasing to host families, the Minister regretted that there had been no sizable response of offers and only since 2000 were received the government has decided to re-advertise.”

It said that as informed to U.N. Under-Secretary -General Lynn Pascoe, day passes have been issued to those with identity cards to engage in livelihood pursuits.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said the nation’s economic developments were stronger than expected and economic growth is now projected at 3.5 per cent in 2009 relative to 3 per cent at the time of programme approval.

“Inflation remains subdued and is expected to remain in the single digits in 2009. Exports have showed signs of recovery in recent months. Import growth, which has thus far remained sluggish, is expected to pick up in the second half of this year as economic activity increases, said The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its First Review of the IMF Stand-By-Arrangement,” as per a statement.

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