Australia's Deputy Leader of Opposition
tells President Rajapaksa:
Thumbs up for North and East progress
Australia's Deputy Leader of Opposition and Shadow
Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop told President Mahinda
Rajapaksa that she and other delegation members were impressed from
what they saw during a tour of the North and East.
"We were impressed by the progress that has been
made," Bishop said during a discussion with President Rajapaksa at
Temple Trees yesterday. "Your country is to be congratulated."
Bishop said following visits to Jaffna,
Kilinochchi and Trincomalee, she felt the resettlement process has
largely achieved its aims.
While the reconciliation process has some way to
go, "you are very much on the right track," she said.
President Rajapaksa and Bishop also spoke about
the problem of illegal immigration. Referring to discussions with
the Sri Lanka Navy, members of the delegation said the Navy's rate
of interception of people illegally leaving Sri Lankan shores on
boats for Australia is "an extraordinary achievement."
"It's a very dangerous journey," Bishop said. "It
[people traveling illegally on boats] should be stopped."
While noting that there are proper channels
if people want to travel or migrate to Australia,
President Rajapaksa and Bishop agreed that every effort should be
made to prevent people from making the illegal trip from Sri Lanka
Speaking about the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka later
this year, Bishop said: "Australia should attend CHOGM and give you
our full support."
Other members of the Australian delegation
comprised Scott Morrison, MP Shadow Minister for Productivity and
Population Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Michael
Keenan, MP Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border
Protection, Robyn Mudie, Australia's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka
and Murray Hansen, Chief-of-Staff for Bishop.
External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris,
External Affairs Deputy Minister Neomal Perera and External Affairs
Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama were present at the
Courtesy : Daily News