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DateLine Monday, 5 March 2007

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Government Gazette

Cementing a longstanding friendship

By any standard, the just-concluded official visit to China by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been an outstanding success.

The achievements from the visit for Sri Lanka have been both varied and memorable and we wish Sino-Lanka relations many more decades of success and substantial achievement.

Coming in the 50th year of Sino-Lanka ties, President Rajapaksa’s visit to China could be said to have further cemented this remarkable friendship which has benefited both countries.

As President Rajapaksa has himself observed, one of the most memorable benefits accruing to Sri Lanka from the visit is China’s restatement of its support for Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity, unity and wholeness.

Besides, we have Chinese President Hu Jintao’s assurance that China “would not allow any entity to extend their support to the terror acts of the LTTE, using Chinese soil.”

This is, indeed, the crowning achievement of President Rajapaksa’s visit to China and we have in these pronouncements the basis for a cordial relationship which would stand the test of time.

It is also a staggering blow to the LTTE and its supporters who have been all out to impress the world outside with their disinformation and half-baked rhetoric.

True to tradition and the highest standards of inter-state cordiality, China has said “no” to separatism and this would go a long way towards defeating the Tigers’ ill-founded propaganda against Sri Lanka. China is, therefore, proving a friend indeed.

Much has already been said on the assistance China is generously extending to us in the area of vital infrastructure development, such as the Norochcholai coal power plant and the Hambantota harbour development project and it goes without saying that such help would prove crucial in our development drive.

For, even if our productivity drive proves to be dynamic, nothing or very little would come out of it if the relevant infrastructure, such as airports, harbours and highways, are not in place.

Therefore, we are receiving timely assistance from China in the area of infrastructure development and this would prove a boon in the transport, marketing and export of goods.

The country could also be particularly glad that business links between China and Sri Lanka are in the process of being stabilised and expanded.

Already, two local car companies have entered into business links with some of their Chinese counterparts and we hope more such links would be established, for, they all add to China’s and Sri Lanka’s growth.

It must be remembered that China is the world’s fastest growing economy; an economic powerhouse of Asia.

It is most advisable for developing countries, such as our’s, to strengthen our economic links with China. Such ties are certain to benefit us substantially.

We also note with satisfaction that Lanka is poised to expand its educational and cultural links with China. Given China’s scientific and technological genius, there is no doubt that Lankan students would benefit significantly through their exposure to China’s seats of higher learning.

One country, one goal: Peace

TWENTY-four years. Twenty-four years of pain, frustration, division, and needless death. That’s been the fate of our beautiful island, but it doesn’t have to be. And it need not be, if our country’s politicians can put their country first, before their party’s agenda or their personal agendas.

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Condominiums: Solution for tsunami housing management 

Many housing projects have already been completed to house Tsunami affected families with the funding of local and foreign organizations. Now it is important to set up a management system for these schemes to prevent a repeat of problems arisen in many government sponsored housing schemes. It is not practical for the Government or the donor organizations to manage these schemes on a long-term basis.

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Trust the people to choose the model of Governance

THERE are three overriding inter-related issues on the National Question confronting the Government and, indeed, the country viz. continuing peace negotiations with the LTTE, the pursuit of robust military action to weaken, if not overwhelm, the LTTE and an agreed constitutional settlement to bind and bond the different language groups and communities in a united Sri Lanka.

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