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Sunny Side Up: Senior UN official visits SL

a year ago

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The United Nations (UN) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs – Department of Peace Operations Assistant Secretary General for the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Khaled Khiari arrived in Sri Lanka last Monday (22) on a four-day official visit. Khiari met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last Thursday (25) and noted that the UN will always work closely with Sri Lanka. The UN official also conveyed the best wishes of UN Secretary General Guterres to President Rajapaksa and said the UN was willing to engage in a constructive and positive engagement with Sri Lanka. Expressing satisfaction over the President’s affection and interest in the environment, the Assistant Secretary General appreciated Sri Lanka’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. President Rajapaksa expressed gratitude to the UN agencies and donors that had assisted Sri Lanka through the COVAX facility to make the vaccination drive successful and in facing other challenges amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The President pointed out that the Government’s development programme implemented in the North and East after the end of the war in 2009 had brought about rapid development. The President recalled his invitation made while participating in the UNGA to the Diaspora to work together with all communities after visiting Sri Lanka, adding that he hoped the invitation would be met with positive initiatives. Khiari, during the visit, had met with senior government officials, as well as representatives of political parties, civil society, religious leaders, and the diplomatic community. Khiari’s visit followed UN Secretary General António Guterres’ meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in September this year, where the Secretary General had expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka in relation to the ongoing Covid-19 challenges, and had discussed other matters of mutual concern. Khiari left Sri Lanka last Thursday.

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