09/22/2009, 00.00
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The Archbishop of Colombo: Europe must continue aids to Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera
The special trade agreement signed in 2004 after the tsunami is at risk. The European union complains about the lack of collaboration on behalf of the Colombian government is clarifying the accusation of violation of human rights during the war. For Mons. Ranjith it would mean cancelling “the best way in which the European Community can help in the quick resettlement of the refugees”.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Archibishop of Colombo, appeals to the European Union not to suspend the special trade agreement signed with Sri Lanka. Mons. Malcolm Ranjith recently sworn in , highlights the fact that the economic aids are essential for the reconciliation in the country, after  decades of war.

After the tsunami in December 2004, the U.E. sustained progress in the economy of this Asiatic country by means of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus, that aids the entry of the textile industry into the UE markets, which is the driving force of the national economy.

Now the GSP Plus is not likely to be renewed for the long time differences between Brussels and Colombo. For quite some time now the  UE has asked for clarifications regarding  the suspected violation of human rights by the military in Colombo during the war, but the government of Rajapaksa does not reply using its “sovereignty” as an excuse.

In his appeal, presented yesterday to the Press, Mons. Ranjith asks Europe to “continue the GSP Plus and all other means of help for Sri Lanka” defining them as “the best means by which the European community can help the resettlement of the refugees”, i.e. the over 200thousand Tamil refugees that are still in the camps.

The archbishop of Colombo repeats his condemnation for “the separatist and discriminating tendencies that have destroyed years of fraternal spirit that united the different communities in Sri Lanka” and invites all the inhabitants of the island to “return to being fervent followers of religious principles that build the soul of the country”.  The prelate invites “the friendly nations in the east and west” to help the Sri Lankan population to “obtain a strong sense of unity, responsibility and attention for the dignity and rights of our people”. But he further adds that the inhabitants of the country are “capable of re conquering this capacity with their strength and without external pressure”.

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