President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has assured a visiting United Nations top official that the government is doing its utmost in building unity among all communities.
The UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Political, Peace Building and Peace Operations Khaled Khiari, who is currently undertaking a visit to Sri Lanka, called on the President at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.
Khiari arrived in Sri Lanka as a result of a bilateral meeting between the President and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the side-lines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Khiari said the United Nations has always worked closely with Sri Lanka and looks forward to working with Sri Lanka with a special long-term relationship.
Expressing satisfaction over the President’s dedication and interest in the environment, the Assistant Secretary-General appreciated Sri Lanka’s commitment when achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The President explained that with the assistance of the Navy, steps are being taken to plant 100,000 mangroves and prevent climate change through environmental conservation programmes.
President Rajapaksa thanked the UN and the COVAX facility for their support to Sri Lanka in making the COVID-19 vaccination drive a success and in facing other challenges in the face of the pandemic.
President Rajapaksa said the government’s development programme implemented in the North and East after the end of the conflict in 2009 brought about rapid development and recalled his invitation to the Diaspora to work with all communities in Sri Lanka when he attended the UN General Assembly expressed hope that the move would be acted upon positively.
President Rajapaksa said there should be no doubt that the government is doing a great deal in building unity among nations.
President Rajapaksa also told ASG Khiari that Sri Lanka plans to study the process by which South Africa eradicated racism and moved forward to explore and the lessons learnt and he expects the support of the United Nations for the initiative.