President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the country today (30) after successfully concluding his visit to New York, USA where he attended the 73rd sessions of the UN General Assembly.
The President left for New York, US to attend the 73rd General Assembly of the UN on September 23. This was the fourth time that President Maithripala Sirisena addressed the UN General Assembly.
In his address to the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit held on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 24 September at the UN Headquarters in New York, he called upon the world leaders to emulate Nelson Mandela, who showed the correct path by his humanitarian qualities and the love for the people.
He thanks the UN Secretary General and others for organizing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit to honour such a great humanitarian leader who showed the path of true reconciliation to the world.
Addressing the 73rd Session of the United nations General Assembly in New York on September 25 (26th morning in SL time), President Maithripala Sirisena called upon the international community to look at Sri Lanka with a fresh perspective and consider the tremendous progress made by the government towards reconciliation, restoration of democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law and extend the fullest support to the build a progressive, democratic, free and equal society.
The President said Sri Lanka is taking action to consolidate peace and forge ahead to develop the economy, and such a nation deserves the support and understanding of the international community. “I urge the international community to allow Sri Lankan people to solve their problems on their own,” he said.
During this tour President Maithripala Sirisena held an important discussion with Director General of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Shenggen Fan about health and food habits of Sri Lankan people and the possibility of formulating a policy to ensure healthy food intake to minimize malnutrition.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) entered into two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with Sri Lanka to expand its development programmes with active partnership with the private sector. These MoUs were signed in New York on September 26 on the sidelines of President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to the city to attend the General Assembly.
In his speech to the ‘Alcohol, NCDs and Sustainable Development’ at the United Nations today on September 28 the President emphasized the imperative need to tackle the issue of indirect and insidious advertising of alcohol and alcohol products through cross border social media and entertainment channels digital marketing. Government’s find it extremely difficult to control these.
He further said that “It is time for us to have an open dialogue to tackle alcohol issues surpassing national borders”.
President Maithripala Sirisena also briefed the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres about Sri Lanka’s progress in strengthening democracy, rule of law, media freedom and reconciliation. He said this during a meeting at the UNSG’s office on the 27th Floor of United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Mr Guterres recalled his last visit to Sri Lanka and said he has fond memories of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya. The President invited the Secretary General to pay another visit to Sri Lanka and see with his own eyes the vast developments taken place in the country. Accepting the invitation, Mr Guterres said he would visit at the earliest possible.
Commonwealth Secretary General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland also praised Sri Lanka’s progress in strengthening democracy and reconciliation. Sri Lanka’s progress in many fields are appreciable, she said.
When Rt Hon Patricia Scotland called on the President at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York on September 28, the President briefed her on the progress made in the last three and half years in reconciliation, strengthening democracy and restoration of human rights.
The President addressing the Sri Lankans living in the United States at the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission to UN in New York on September 26 said that the government is always fully committed to safeguard the honour, dignity and respect of war heroes from the top generals to the last private soldier and they would be provided with every privilege.
President was warmly received by the Sri Lankans comprising of intellectuals, professionals, entrepreneurs, academics and university students.