18 May, 2024

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A Role For Sri Lanka In US Pivot To Asia

By Jaliya Wickramasuriya

Jaliya Wickramasuriya

As economic and political power shifts east, western nations are responding by reinforcing trade and security alliances across Asia. With the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, a new military base in Australia, and deepening alliances across the region, the U.S. has recommitted to the Asia Pacific. As President Obama’s foreign policy pivots to Asia and the vision of “America’s Pacific Century” unfolds, U.S. strategic relations with Sri Lanka must also be examined.

Sri Lanka is the region’s longest standing democracy with a burgeoning economy and vast opportunity for commercial, military and cultural partnerships. It has much to offer the U.S., already Sri Lanka’s biggest trade partner augmented by the 2002 signing of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. There exists a military-to-military relationship and the USAID presence has grown steadily since 1948. Education is another essential link, and Fulbright scholars are exchanged each year.

Unfortunately our bilateral relationship has been side-tracked. Under brutal attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an internationally proscribed terrorist organization, Sri Lankans lived in fear for 26 years. The FBI described the LTTE as the “most dangerous and deadly extremists” in the world. This group pioneered the use of suicide jackets, assassinated Sri Lankan and Indian heads of state, and ruthlessly conscripted child soldiers. This constant threat of terror was the reality that plagued our island nation for the past quarter century.

In 2009, after years of conflict with the LTTE, Sri Lanka achieved what few other countries can claim – defeating a violent terrorist group and ending decades of fear.  Under the visionary leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, our country is ushering in a new era with the personal dedication of every Sri Lankan to move the country forward to a bright future.

It has been only three and a half years, but already much has been accomplished. Nearly all 1.5 million landmines laid by the LTTE have been removed, and 300,000 internally displaced people resettled. Sri Lanka is also satisfying a comprehensive process of reconciliation based on recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Amnesty has been granted to over 12,000 former LTTE combatants and child soldiers who are being reintegrated into society. 225 ex-combatants face legal proceedings for criminal charges, and a court of inquiry has been convened to explore allegations of wrongdoing against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

Today, not only is the entire country safe for everyone but we are also quickly becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The Northern Province has recorded 22 percent growth, and the IMF forecasts 6.7 percent GDP growth island-wide for 2013. We’ve also accelerated tourism development, fulfilling our target one million tourist arrivals last year and recently opening the country’s second international airport. The New York Times declared Sri Lanka as the 2010 top tourism destination in the world; Lonely Planet ranked the country #1 among its top-10 locations for 2013.

Like any democracy, Sri Lanka faces its share of challenges. We agree that while much has been accomplished since 2009, more needs to be done. The government has met unexpected challenges that have slowed progress on implementation of LLRC recommendations. But as in any post-conflict effort, reconciliation and accountability take time.

The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, fostering national reconciliation, and pursuing peace. This commitment is not just to democracy, but also to respecting rule of law and the principles of sovereignty.

We are moving in the right direction and are keen to broaden our bilateral relationship with the U.S., as recommended in the 2009 Kerry-Lugar Senate Report on Sri Lanka. This report concluded the need to re-chart U.S. strategy in Sri Lanka beyond humanitarian and political reforms. Indeed, there are many avenues of cooperation, including in the strategic and defense area where Sri Lanka can offer its experience in defeating terrorism.

Most importantly though, we are now rebuilding our nation, and we believe the U.S. has an opportunity to participate in this effort from the beginning. We have investment requirements ranging from education, clean energy and tourism to maritime security and defense. Opportunities also exist for commercial partnerships, building the infrastructure of Sri Lanka’s future.

There is value in new prospects for mutual development and prosperity, and it is imperative that the U.S. and Sri Lanka consider a broad engagement strategy to take advantage of these opportunities. Sri Lanka is well positioned to build on its 200-year-old trade partnership with the U.S. and become a stronger geopolitical and strategic ally in the decades to come.

*Wickramasuriya is Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United States.

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    OMG! what is this man says? // Sri Lanka is well positioned to build on its 200-year-old trade partnership with the U.S. and become a stronger geopolitical and strategic ally in the decades to come.//

    Is this Rajapaksas current policy to became a stronger geopolitical and strategic ally in the decades to come? :( ;) :) :)

    One brother says something and the other says something.

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      I don’t think this guy can write an article of any substance. Somebody must have written it for him. He is the Ambassador to USA as cousin of MR. Another cousin is running our post in Moscow. These are despicable family based appointments. At a critical juncture in our history. It is an unforgivable crime against Sri Lanka by the Rajapassa clan. A gift to the LTTE rump overseas.

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        an another cousin Jaliya´s brother is the in charge of Mattala airport project.. all these show the wisdom of MR…. :(

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        bEN
        not LTTE rump overseas!!!!!!!!!!
        be brave and conduct a referendum in Tamil area about LTTE.Then you will find out the truth. You just believe what the Sinhalese say?
        still there are area of NO Go Zones in Tamil area.
        I wonder are YOU one of those journaist writing about srilanka while the !!!! JOURNALISTS WERE MURDERED OR KEPT AWAY FROM THOSE PLACES IF THEY WERE WILLING TO SAY THE TRUTH.

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      With Wimal Weerawansa ??? Sitting on a rock in Hambantota and calling out t o passing ships?

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      This guy Jalliya forgot to mention that Even tortoises are flying in Sri lanka after they came to power.

      Hon Lakshman Kadhiragamar, we Sri Lankans miss you very much sir.

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    I wonder who wrote this article for president Roger Proxys relative Jaliya Wickramasuriya? Maybe it was someone at the foreign ministry?

    This part is the most funniest. “The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, fostering national reconciliation, and pursuing peace. This commitment is not just to democracy, but also to respecting rule of law and the principles of sovereignty.” :D

    Whom is Mr.Wickramasuriya trying to fool?

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    Comedy Time:
    “Koheda yanne malle pol”.

    The US pivot focus East Asia and South East Asia NOT South Asia!

    Other than that, very well “ghost” written piece that shows how intelligent the “First First-Cousin” really is!

    Donald Gnanakone

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      For once I agree with uncle Donald.

      US Pivot to Asia has nothing to do with South Asia.

      It is all about trying to contain rising Dragon “China” by using Australia and East Asia etc.

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    “Sri Lanka is the region’s longest standing democracy”. Where is this guy coming from India is a democracy and it got independence in 1947. We had ours in 1948. May be he should ask a school going child and learn. What is this guy smoking. From this comment we know what type of diplomats we have today. What a shame!

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      Park:
      You are dead wrong when you suggest this guy is capable of writing ANYTHING! Like the rest of his clan/tribe he is an illiterate thug!

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    When one reads such disconnected articles by the members of the governing family, you realize they live in a bubble under the illusion that things are wonderful in Sri Lanka.

    I don’t know how many Sri Lankans will keep falling for this delusional picture, but I don’t think Gota’s article or this comedy of error, will convince most people that things are swell in our poisoned well.

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      Why dont you know how many Slkens will keep falling.. majority of lanken are not awaere of many things. State goes on abusing them…

      They have already established all kind mechanisms to fool the folks – after all the vote base – rural poor people for the next 10 years or so. If any tragody would not be the case, he will be like Simbabwe´s mugabe.

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      you will be surprise since the war so many ex-pats living in western countries[but hates the west] believe every thing SLG put out.I know of a Dr. who left SL 1970 and still residing in the west harping on about how the West is trying to take over Sri Lanka and once said that Chinese citizens got more freedom than US & US citizens for his credit he is been to China for two weeks on holiday and he seems very reluctant to return to Sri Lanka to live.He say’s Norway and Holland are after SL huge oil deposits.He walks around with a US $1 note in his pocket to convince any one who care to listen about the world order conspiracy by US Masonic’S and he is a Dr nor less.

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    This guy is the only diplomat allowed to engage in commercial activity at the same time – he is selling sri lanka tea in the USA.
    He was “selected” by the Committee of High Posts on a day it was not supposed to meet – three members met secretly, & selected him as ambassador to USA. A leading sunday paper called him a ‘diplomatic disaster’.
    He hires outiders to write reports – this must have been thus produced.
    He Appears to live in a dreamland,from what he says.
    Does he know that sri lanka needs five more years to implement human rights – as requested at the UNHRC meeting?
    His whitewashing of his cousin’s dictatership is hilarious.

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      ” This guy is the only diplomat allowed to engage in commercial activity at the same time – he is selling sri lanka tea in the USA.”

      Dr Chris Nonis , SL ambassador to London is engaged with the same trade.

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    This man is not a diplomat he is a diplomut

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    When you throw peanuts, you will get monkeys.

    When you appoint a bloody tea-taster as a senior ambassador, this is what you will get.

    I bet on my head (literally), if he is asked to explain half of his own letter (leaving the pronouns and conjunctions out), he wouldn’t be able to explain more than 25 per cent of it!

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    A very humorous piece giving the readers of CT a great deal of comic relief

    Bensen

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    Who let the dog out???

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      Who let the dog out ?

      well it is you people with computer jilmart,at all the elections held so far.

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        Muslim, I left the country long before this man got outside the shores of Sri Lanka.

        You are the ones who (probably) sit inside that well called Sri Lanka and vote strange people to power, and then cry for freedom.

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    Jaliya Wickramasuriya is another relative who at best is a clumsy joker piggy-backing the Company.

    Why take him seriously, when we all know that he is another Minstrel yodeling for his sumptuous supper?

    His article is a typical example of an exercise in botched lip-synching with the help of an equally inane ghost-writer.

    JW is well aware that the Company’s “Mission and Vision” is to be in Power, Plunder and rule in Perpetuity. He is just another well-remunerated loyal lackey feeding off the national trough.

    We agree that physically the Company is doing what has to be done vis-a-vis de-mining, rehabilitation and reconstruction (by the way, a great way to enrich the cronies). That is a sine qua non.

    What is more important is that 4 years after the war, no solution to the ethnic issues have been put on the table by the Company. They are still talking about Talks!

    The Company obfuscates and delays, and in order to divert our attention from this imperative, continually throws spanners in the works like the recent BBS project.

    “God only knows” (to borrow the CJ’s famous comment) when all this nonsense will come to an end and sanity will prevail in our blessed land.

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    Today, not only is the entire country safe for everyone but we are also quickly becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

    The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, fostering national reconciliation, and pursuing peace. This commitment is not just to democracy, but also to respecting rule of law and the principles of sovereignty.

    This man is like a donkey braying in the middle of the night. Other than disturbing the peace there is no substance in what he says.

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    Hello Jaliyah, the likes of you a relative with no,knowledge of Diplomacy is the route cause of our problems.
    The idiots have to check facts before you write to a prestigious news paper like the Telegraph!!!

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    Who wrote this speech for this uneducated Ambassador to regurgitate. He talks about the commitment to the rule of law? Ask the illegal Impeachment of the C.J.The current harassment of Tamils and Muslims , The open nepotism and corruption and the absence of accountability for crimes that take place on a daily basis.He is an insult to some of the finest cultured educated Diplomats that represented us in Washington. Such as Sir Senerat Gunewardene, Sir Claude Corea, Neville Kanakaratne, Shirley Amerasinghe and Ananda Guruge.These men had close friends in Congress and the whiite house.They could hold their own in any discussions at any level with Diplomts politicians or heads of state. This man is a disaster, He cant express himself in grammatical English
    and talks utter nonsense when confronted by the press.
    No wonder we have such bad relations with the state department when such uneducated ex Tea Tasters represent us.

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    Hello Jaliya, you have written a typical diplomatic piece which will not convince even the most die-hard liberal that you genuinely know what you are saying about the country. Knowing that you are a good man in a wrong place, and assuming that you really believe in what you say, let me categorically tell you that you are totally wrong. Sri Lanka may have some peripheral strategic interest to the USA, but that is not the issue. What is happening here is serious enough for me ask you to have a chat with your relative the President to correct his mindset regarding the future direction of the country. Well and good your cousin has defeated the LTTE, but why is he instilling fear amongst all the people, particularly the minorities? Why is he encouraging violence and intrigue? Why does he not reconcile with the Tamil people? And now the Muslim people? Why has he turned the country in to an intimidatory, authoritarian land, a near dictatorship? Do you know that we don’t like it and in fact we hate it. With your exposure in the USA you will now know that dictatorships produce servile people, just ‘yes men’ without self respect, without creativity, without initiative, without courage and honour. A good example is what has happened to our parliament. How are we going to develop this country with such people? Your cousin is encouraging sectarian violence. How are we going to survive? In such a climate how can we build international relationships and improve trade? Above all please tell him to have ‘maithri’ for all not merely talk about it. But please do not tell him anything if by doing so your job will be put at risk.

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    This man should have stuck to what he was good at, selling tea. He is a terrible bumbling idiot when it comes to diplomacy. Another sad case of Rajapakse nepotism hijacking our country. This article could have been written better by a college student studying international relations 101. The basic thesis – the US wants allies in Southeast and East Asia, Sri Lanka is good, lets be friends. Is this really the sophistication one expects from our envoy in one of the most powerful states in the world? Sir, you are no diplomat, you got there thanks to your ayya, then at least PLEASE let the real diplomats do their work and keep your mouth shut without embarrassing us.

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    ”Sri Lanka is the region’s longest standing democracy” ?

    He has forgotten to read the post-independence history !

    Ok, if it’s too much, he cannot remember what the Rajapakses have been doig in the last seven years.

    Promise removal of excecutive Presidency in election manifesto and enact 18th Amendment and maximise the ower of Executive Presidency ?!

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    Heard about Bodu Bala Sena ?

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    Hello Park, Sri Lanka may be the longest standing democracy because we gave universal adult franchise (right to vote) in 1931. We have to check whether any other country like India had this before 1931. If not, then what Uncle Jaliya says is correct. I am not a Rajapaksa supporter or clan but check your facts before you write. Thanks

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      Well, Sri Lanka may have had democracy since time immemorial buy democracy is no longer there in Sri Lanka now. It has been destroyed by Jaliya’s uncle Mahinda Rajapaksa. There is no point in talking about democracy and Sri Lanka. The country is run by a bunch uneducated corrupt thugs who don’t know the meaning of democracy.

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      This guy Jalliya UNCLE OR STEP FATHER.

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      1932 the Chinese women were given the right to divorce and that is more personal than right to vote you scumbug.

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    This is one of our DIPLOMUTS, they are immune to the peoples onslaught as they live well protected because of their close connections to the ruling family in sri lanka,but for srilanka to come out of this rut ,we need a change,bring back Ranil as he is the best of the rotten lot.

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    No Jaliya, the Government of Sri Lanka should be committed to promoting and protecting Human Rights, fostering national reconciliation and pursuing peace. This commitment should be not be just to democracy, but also to respecting the rule of law.

    The purpose of the US resolution on Sri Lanka is to give our rulers space and time to achieve these objectives. The first action should be to restore the democratic norms we enjoyed when we elected President Rajapaksa. Start by restoring the 17th Amendment with any amendments accepted by the Leader of the Opposition, to make it more workable. Then hold the Northern Province Provincial Council Elections. A Judicial Inquiry in to allegations of human rights abuses during the war, consistent with the resolution is also a high priority. Implement the LLRC recommendations in a transparent manner. These are the minimum requirements to prevent further threats to our sovereignty.

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    This man can’t string a sentence in English but has managed to write a whole article good enough to be published. Obviously written by someone else. Lot of factual errors and assumptions.

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    I hope and hope that this “AMBASSADOR” will read the 30 comments posted.

    Mr. “AMBASSADOR” do you realize how wrong and calamitous to have agreed to be appointed to an assignment for which you are not fit. The people in Sri Lanka did not vote for your cousin to make this type of appointments and grant “endowments” to family members from the public funds.

    Please be aware, the PEOPLE are beginning to understand and realize the source of emanation of foul smell from “NEPOTISM” of your cousin’s administration. It is time you advise the others too. It is understanable that you don’t get a feeling of the foul smell, because you live in that dirty pit along with your other relatives. Yet, if you care to read the comments posted, some sign of it can be had and that will help to open your mind and eyes.

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    ” is ushering in a new era with the personal dedication of every Sri Lankan to move the country forward to a bright future”
    Yeah! You idiot stop kissing your cousing ass. I know you got the JOB becuase you are cousin not you have the experience or the education or the skills. You dumb fukrs dont pay people to write BS. Bright Future for RAJAPASSSA? no democracy? You fukk face go hump are a cow!

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    Another cousin of Jaliya has been a “murderer” all long as revealed
    in Lanka News web just a day ago, as follows:

    “The shooting and killing of innocent civilians in the Jaffna peninsula about 30 years in a disgraceful act of the Sri Lanka Army was carried out by the Rajarata Rifle Force and current Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Nandasena Rajapaksa was also involved in the incident since he was a Captain of the said Force, a military officer told us. It is this incident that created a Tamil Diaspora.
    He made this statement in response to a comment by Minister Dullas Alahapperuma at a press conference at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute following adoption of the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC that the UNP had to also take the blame for the formation of the Tamil Diaspora after the killing of innocent Tamil civilians in July 1983.
    “It is the Rajarata Rifle Force that first shot and killed Tamil civilians in 1983. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who was a Captain at the time allowed those deployed under him to kill the civilians. After the then UNP government came to an end, the Rajarata Rifle Force was disbanded by sending off military personnel attached to it. However, Captain Gotabhaya Rajapaksa managed to escape any punishment due to his political connections. Dullas Alahpperuma is speaking without knowing this past,” the officer said.
    The officer explained that it was the pressure from Tamil Nadu that pushed the Indian government to vote in favour of the resolution and that the growing dissention in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka is the killing of Prabhakaran’s youngest son.

    “Captain Rajapaksa who allowed the killing of innocent Tamil civilians in 1983, in 2009 ordered Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne to kill Prabhakaran’s 12 year old son when he surrendered to the army. Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne served as a second lieutenant under Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the Rajarata Rifle Force in 1983. It is the past experiences that made Gotabhaya Rajapaksa order Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne to kill the Tigers who surrendered to the army in 2009,” the military officer said.
    Therefore, the officer said that it is Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who should take the responsibility for creating a Tamil Diaspora and feeding them with slogans and not any other political party”

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    The only economy worth USA’s interest in South Asia is India – now that Pakistan is a virtual basket case with no industrial base to
    speak of. Sri Lanka needs the USA more for its economic survival than
    the other way about. The only major interests to the USA is the safety on the sea routes for commercial activity during peacetime and
    bases in the islands close to Sri Lanka for its air movements – both of which are committed to by Sri Lanka bilaterally by various protocols.

    So this Statement of the Ambassador, clearly ghost written because the man (“this and that” as he was found to blurt the last time he was on tape) cannot express himself coherently even in spoken English,
    is merely for the record and has little substance. Two of the trio of Brothers – running the country as a Kitchen Cabinet – are beholden to the State Department for their residential status. Everything else including Mr GLP Bean’s recent brouhaha is simply letting off wind.

    Senguttuvan

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    VACANCIES AVAILABLE.
    Sri Lankan Embassy is looking for are person who can Translate ENGLISH/SINHALESE and SINAHALES/ENGLISH. This person will be reporting to the Present Unqualified, idiot sri lankan ambasaddor to us Jaliya Wickramasooriya.

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    Heard about Bodu Ballage Sena!

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    MR Jaliya show this to President, Mahinda Rajapaska.

    The biggest ever environmental disaster in Sri Lanka’s history happened when President Rakapakse covered over 400 ACRES OF CULTIVABLE LAND WITH FOUR FEET OF THICK CONCRETE IN MATTALA.

    According to analysis, Mattala soil is best to grow Fruits such as Apples, Oranges, Grapes, Date Palm trees as well as vegetables.Fruits have much demand in the world market which a pound of fruit is equalant to a pound of Meat in the world market, while growing environmental friendly climate. Also low investment and maintenance, high yield and high profit with a opportinity for export potential.

    Also now they have dry fruits packets in the market which have a shelf life of over a six months to a year.

    400 Acres of Concrete will emitt Co2 back into atmosphere further drying already dry land in Mattala and HYambanthota district. Concrete is the worst heat absorber….worst than desert sand, where it sends back the heat back to atmosphere.

    This is besides building another harbour sending sea water further into land.

    What type of an Idiot Gon Haraka riding our country to disastar.
    Does Hambanthota Amude wearing Buffalo know about Environment Preserve and disaster management……

    How many jungles were cleared and trees were cut for various unwanted projuects by this uneducated Gon Haraka who never did any environmental study before commencing any project.

    These projects which are so harmful to the environment and climate change will occur and show it’s results in time to come.

    Rajapakses are more concern on putting a crazy photo on a pack of Cigarette to destroying a whole civilization with environment disasters due to covering over 500 acres of cultivable land with concrete.
    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100912/Plus/plus_23.html
    http://window2nature.wordpress.com/category/environmental-issues
    http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H_31112.pdf

    Surely this Gon Haraka will leave after his term ends with the commission package……but it is people and the future generation will have to face the natural disasters including climatic change with dry seasons spreading throughout the country and to pay back all the illicit loans taken By Thieves.

    Will there be any future for our future generations left in Sri Lanka after the environmental Killer assasin moron leaves office after destroying everything.

    It is time to stop this crazy Mee Haraka from further distroying and ruining our country.

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