B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has accepted the Chairmanship of the ‘Group of Fifteen’, a coalition of 18 developing countries established to develop potential for greater and mutually beneficial cooperation among developing countries, especially in the areas of investment, trade and technology, Colombo said here on Tuesday.

The Foreign Ministry said the nation was invited by her predecessor, Iran, to take over the chair at a “critical time in the global economic and financial environment”.

The Group was conceived as a small cohesive body of developing countries, whose composition was fairly representative of the diverse levels of economic development and interests of all developing countries.

The Foreign Ministry said Sri Lanka would continue to strengthen the forum, both as a vehicle for South-South cooperation and to become a logical dialogue partner of the G8.

“By acting as a catalyst for greater South-South cooperation, the G-15 aims at facilitating national efforts for development and economic progress. This cooperation is also expected to lend greater cohesion and credibility to developing countries in their efforts to pursue a more positive and productive North-South dialogue.

“As such, it is envisaged that the G-15 will both serve as a forum for regular consultations among developing countries with a view to coordinating policies and action of South countries at the global level, and assist in the formulation and implementation of programmes of cooperation”, it said.

Separately, on the occasion of the opening of the Sigiriya Museum on Tuesday in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Yasuo Fukuda, former Prime Minister of Japan and the President of the Sri Lanka-Japan Friendship Association, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said, “this noble gift of the Sigiriya Museum which was funded by the Government of Japan will remain as a special symbol of the cultural relations”.

Meanwhile, an Investment Facilitation Agreement between China Development Bank and Central Bank of Sri Lanka has been signed. A government statement said under the Agreement, China Development Bank would initially place a U.S. dollar deposit with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, while also progressing towards long-term economic ties between the two institutions.

Corrections and Clarifications

A report "Sri Lanka to chair Group of Fifteen" ("International" page, July29, 2009) said that Sri Lanka has accepted the Chairmanship of the "Group ofFifteen", a coalition of 18 developing countries, leading to a query onwhether it should be called G15 or G18. The Group of Fifteen (G-15) wasestablished at a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries in September1989, following the conclusion of the Ninth Non-Aligned Summit Meeting inBelgrade. The Group was originally founded by 15 developing countries. Whilethere are now 18 member countries, the original name of the Group has beenretained. (The countries are Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt,India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru,Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.)