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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2675

SAARC leaders to take a common position on the scourge of terrorism, developing together- Dr. Palitha Kohona

Colombo, 21 July, (Asiantribune.com): Dr. Palith Kohona, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, when speaking to Asian Tribune said that Government of Sri Lanka is making all the required arrangements to make the 15th SAARC Summit a success. He pointed out that SAARC leaders when they meet, they intend to formulate common positions on the climate changes, energy crisis, developing together, and on the subject of elimination of poverty. He also emphasized, "Leaders will also explore further ways of cooperating to eliminate this scourge of terrorism that has affected all the countries of South Asia.Dr. Palith Kohona: "We intend to discuss about climate changes, the energy crises, developing together, elimination of poverty. We will also explore further ways of cooperating to eliminate this scourge of terrorism that has affected all the countries of South Asia."Dr. Palith Kohona: "We intend to discuss about climate changes, the energy crises, developing together, elimination of poverty. We will also explore further ways of cooperating to eliminate this scourge of terrorism that has affected all the countries of South Asia."

The SAARC conference is scheduled to take place from 27 July to 01 August and the 15th Summit from 2nd to 3rd August in Colombo. Leaders of all the eight member countries are expected to participate in the Summit. Dr, Palitha Kohona also said that Security arrangements are in place and said that the security of the summit is essentially a Sri Lanka’s responsibility.

When ‘Asian Tribune’ asked about Katchativu and about South Indian leaders’ allegations about Sri Lanka Navy, he pointed out that Katchativu is an integral part of Sri Lanka and it is better that less talked about it. Indian Government has recognized Katchativu as a territory coming under Sri Lanka way back in 1974 and there is no need to talk about it any further said Dr. Palitha Kohona.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary categorically denied that Sri Lanka Navy had no hands in the death of those two Indian fishermen. He added, “We have in the past situations, where LTTE had actually murdered South Indian fishermen in order to put the blame on the Sri Lankan Navy. We had conducted a preliminary investigation regarding this issue and according to our investigation, Sri Lanka Navy had no hand in the killing of those two fishermen. “

Given below the excerpts of the interview Asian Tribune had with Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Asian Tribune : Tell us about the latest developments regarding the forthcoming 15th SAARC Summit to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: SAARC Conference arrangements are going ahead pretty well, as planned. Security arrangements are in place. From the 27th to 28th will be the SAARC officials meeting, followed by the Standing Committee meting from 29 to 30th July. As Foreign Secretary, I will be chairing that meeting. From 31st July to 1st August will be the Ministerial level meeting. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister will be preside and finally from 2nd to 3rd August – the Summit, where the leaders of the eight SAARC member countries will meet and deliberate

Asian Tribune: Regarding the Security arrangements for the Summit?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: The security of the summit is essentially a Sri Lankan responsibility and we are confident that the security will be in place.

Asian Tribune : Why is that such a strong security measures are in place for this summit? What is the fear connected with the Summit?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: The question of fear does not arise. It is our responsibility to ensure that security at the highest level is provided for the visiting delegations. It is the normal practice. If you have a conference in anywhere in the world, the security at the highest level would be provided.

Asian Tribune: Is there any threat by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or by any other terrorists organizations from any of the participating countries in the conference?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: There is no special threat from anywhere. We will take all the precautionary measures to ensure that there is no security risk.

Asian Tribune: I wish to draw your attention that while Sri Lanka is making arrangements to hold the SAARC conference, there is a new issue gradually brewing up in South India about the Tamil Nadu fishermen and Katchativu. What is your comment about that?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: What I am going to say is not my comment, but this is the position of the Government of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Navy had no hands in the death of those two fishermen. And we have in the past situations, where LTTE had actually murdered South Indian fishermen in order to put the blame on the Sri Lankan Navy. We had conducted a preliminary investigation and according to our investigation, Sri Lanka Navy had no hand in the killing of those two fishermen.

Asian Tribune: At this point of time, M. Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu - a state in South India said that now is the right time to get back the Katchativu from the island nation. Your comment?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: The two issues had nothing to do with each other.

Asian Tribune: Is there any remote chance of Katchativu being given to India due to its pressure and threat?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: Katchativu has been recognized by the Indian Government way back in 1974, as it belongs to Sri Lanka. I don’t think there should be any further discussion on this matter.

Asian Tribune : You have not made your comment on Karunanidhi’s statement that Katchativu was gifted to Sri Lanka?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: Sorry we don’t deal with the Chief Ministers directly.

Asian Tribune: Tell us about the arrangements of the SAARC conference?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: Arrangements for SAARC are going ahead well and we expect to have a very successful SAARC conference.

Asian Tribune: Is there any major resolutions put forward by the Sri Lanka Government?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: No there are no resolutions.

Asian Tribune: Any proposals?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: No there are no resolutions or proposals as such, but the leaders of the eight member countries will sit together and formulates common positions.

Asian Tribune: What are those that are envisaged in this summit?

Dr. Palitha Kohona: We intend to discuss about climate changes, the energy crises, developing together, elimination of poverty. We will also explore further ways of cooperating to eliminate this scourge of terrorism that has affected all the countries of South Asia.

- Asian Tribune -

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