The LTTE is a banned organization in every country in Europe as it has not given up on violence and terrorism – Foreign Minister

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The LTTE is a banned organization in every country in Europe as it has not given up on violence and terrorism, said the Hon. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena November (30) in
Parliament addressing the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Foreign.

Adding to it, the Minister stated that the Ministry and the government, is fully aware of the matter and is acting with a diplomatical outlook. He stated this in expressing his views
pertaining to concerns raised by the Members of Parliament Suren Raghavan and Gamini Waleboda.

Addressing the committee, the Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage stated that there is no ban on repatriating. He pointed out that the process had only slowed down due to the emergence of the Peliyagoda and Minuwangoda COVID clusters as there was a dearth of facilities in the quarantine centers. Furthermore, the Secretary stated that the process has now gained momentum and relevant measures are taken to bring down citizens back to Sri Lanka. He further pointed out that 47, 000 from 126 countries have repatriated to-date.

The Secretary stated the above in response to a concern raised by Member of Parliament Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam when he disclosed that many Sri Lankan nationals who have travel abroad prior to the closure of the airport are now stuck in foreign soil as they are
barred from returning back.

MPs Charles Nirmalanathan and Sivagnanam Shritharan disclosed that almost 100,000 seeked asylum in South India during the war and 80% are now registered and recognized by the government. However, they pointed out that there are 20% of unregistered Sri Lankan refugees in South India wanting to return back to Sri Lanka but the Indian Government is demanding the Visa fee amounting the number of years they have been residing in India in order to grant leave.

Responding to the said concern, the Minister stated that discussions have also been held with leaders such as S.C Chandra Hasan and the President has approved looking into the issue when the COVID crisis hit the country in March. Furthermore, the Foreign Minister stated that the Ministry acknowledges this issue and they have already intervened to bring down the Sri Lankan refugees back to their home country in due course.

Member of Parliament Diana Gamage raised her concerns pertaining the safety assurance of Sri Lankan labour force in the Middle East at the committee.

In response the Foreign Secretary emphasized that 40% of such labour in the Middle East have not entered its borders following proper procedures. Acknowledging the concern
raised, the Secretary stated that the Ministry and all respective authorities are working on finding a solution to the issue.

MP Diana Gamage also questioned the status of the contemporary issue affiliated with the under aged Japanese girl who has been claimed to have been kidnapped. Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Colombage stated that the matter should be left for the course of law to take charge but they too are keeping an eye on the development on that regard. State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya stated that he expects to discuss with the Department of Commerce and add KPIs in the future. Furthermore, he stated that they have under taken discussions with the Chinese embassy to obtain a tax relief on gems and garments. The State Minister stated the above in explanation towards suggestions made by MP Gamini Waleboda regarding foreign trade relations and establishing a gem and jeweldry value addition center in Sri Lanka.

The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Foreign chaired by Hon. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was attended by the Hon. State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya together with more than 20 MPs including (Dr.) Kavinda Heshan Jayawardhana, Suren Raghavan, Gamini Waleboda, Yadamini Gunawardena Charles Nirmalanathan, Udayakantha Gunathilaka, Sivagnanam Shritharan, Udayana Kirindigoda, Diana Gamage, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and many officials representing the respective authorities.