Sri Lanka would work towards building on a 'people centred foreign policy’ in the new year while continuing to work towards consolidating on the follow up to counter terrorism measures with foreign governments, according to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

Speaking at a function to mark the dawn of the new year at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Friday the Minister paid special tribute to former Ministers of Foreign Affairs Lakshman Kadirgamar and Ranjan Wijerathna (who were both assassinated by suspected cadres of the LTTE in August 2005 and March 1991 respectively) for their contributions and sacrifices. He also appreciated contribution by all members of the Ministry he headed in helping to bring the country out of a period that was dominated by the curse of terrorism.

The Minister told the gathering that as the island nation comes to grip with new ground realities after three decades of issues related to war, peace and terrorism that took centre stage in Sri Lanka’s dealings with foreign governments, the Ministry and the Missions abroad are faced with new challenges.

On the role of Missions abroad Mr. Bogolaagama maintained that all Sri Lanka Missions must be a home for Sri Lankans living in those countries without distinction, while Missions should also work towards procuring the latest technological advancements for the benefit of the country’s development.

In his remarks Secretary Foreign Affairs Romesh Jayasingha said the year 2010 is a new beginning as Sri Lanka has come out of an era during which the country’s very existence was being challenged, and the Foreign Ministry had to face many difficult challenges due to terrorism.

“This new era will bring new challenges where intellectual exchanges and collaboration with foreign governments would be required”, he told the Ministerial staff gathered on the occasion.

He expressed confidence that the Ministry will face these new challenges relating to trade, disinformation and allegations of human rights abuses with equal success.

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