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France says reconciliation important

2014 Jul 16

The French Government says the most important issue for Sri Lanka is reconciliation between the country’s communities.

Jean-Paul Monchau, the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka, says France and the European Union are very attentive to this issue because as friends of the Sri Lankan people, both France and the EU really hope to see progress in this field to ensure that war will never take place again.

“Reconciliation imposes efforts to be made by everyone, not only by the government, but also by the majority and opposition, by civil society, by religious leaders and by all stakeholders concerned. There is no other possibility to maintain a peace which was so difficult to achieve. I must say, reconciliation does seem possible when you see that here, in Colombo, all communities live in harmony, all religions are respected and all three languages are taught and spoken,” the Ambassador said in a statement to mark the French National Day.

The French envoy said that upon arriving in Colombo in September last year, he was impressed by the resilience the Sri Lankan people showed despite having suffered three decades of civil war as well as the tsunami of 2004.

Jean-Paul Monchau says the rapid transformation of Colombo, the development of infrastructure across the country, including in the devastated provinces of the East and the North, the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, the rehabilitation of ex-combatants; all contribute to a brighter future in Sri Lanka.

He says today, Sri Lanka is one of the most successful countries in South Asia, according to social development indicators.

The French Ambassador said that since the end of the war, the Sri Lankan economy has been growing at great speed, at a rate of 6 to 8% a year, which would be a dream come true in any Western economy.

“I am convinced that France can participate in the economic and social development of Sri Lanka and that is why, I will focus on economic diplomacy during my term,” he added.

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