Mr President Mr Secretary General Your Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen Please accept my congratulations Mr President on your unanimous and well deserved election as President of the 58th UN General Assembly. This is a difficult period for any person to preside over the UN General Assembly and I wish you every success. I wish also to thank HE Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic for his exemplary work as the outgoing President. Last year addressing the General Assembly I referred to the commencement of the peace process in Sri Lanka and promised to report on its progress. The progress of the peace process in Sri Lanka is because we stopped talking about talking to each other - we started doing the talking. We have been lucky because the international community did not simply talk about helping us - they did it. In moving from conflict to peace in Sri Lanka we initiated fundamental change in policy and strategy. We shifted from confrontation to negotiation, identifying and recognising the root causes of the conflict. The success story that Sri Lanka is fast becoming also demonstrates the value of the support of the international community acting in concert. That the global community moving with a common purpose can succeed in re-establishing peace, democracy and prosperity has been amply demonstrated in the Sri Lankan experience. After 20 years of conflict our people are now enjoying the fruits of 20 months of peace. The role of the international community in enabling us to move from war to peace has been outstanding. The facilitation that Norway provided, has resulted in bringing the Government and LTTE together in several rounds of negotiation. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's continuing declaration of commitment to a political solution has been invaluable. The moral and material support which our other front line sponsors - India, the EU, Japan, Canada and the US along with the multilateral institutions of the UN and the rest of the international community have given, and continue to give us, has guaranteed that our efforts to consolidate and maintain the peace will strengthen and develop. In Oslo last November our international partners endorsed and underwrote a paradigm shift in policy when the Government and LTTE accepted that the future political order in Sri Lanka would include moving towards a federal polity where the unity and territorial integrity of the country would be ensured. Again, in Tokyo in June this year, 52 nations and 21 multilateral agencies, many of them of the UN system, pledged their support to Sri Lanka's peace efforts, rehabilitation and development programmes. The massive, and unparalleled, financial contributions alone totalled US $ 4.5 billion over a four-year period. These are indeed landmark events underlining the value and strength of international action. I must however inform this Assembly that like in all negotiations of a peace process we find ourselves today at a temporary impasse in the talks. Within the next few weeks we should know the results of a comprehensive review undertaken by the LTTE in response to our earlier proposals regarding an interim administrative arrangement for the north and east of our country. That they should take so much time and effort can be seen as a positive sign. We in turn will look positively at the proposals put forward by the LTTE and will do everything in our power to keep the peace process moving forward to a successful conclusion. Meanwhile our collective efforts, handsomely supported by the international community and the multilateral agencies, at providing relief, rehabilitation and development to the conflict affected areas of our country proceeds apace. Economic growth is marching ahead from a negative growth of minus one per cent in the year 2001 to possibly 6% this year and tourism is booming. Yes Mr President, so far this has been the story of Sri Lanka. And yes, Mr President, there have indeed been some success stories in the UN too in the recent past, in Haiti, Somalia, Angola, Kosovo, East Timor. But these are not enough. Mr President, The UN represents an unique concept and international order formulated by the allied powers to address the challenges to peace and security, and to development and democracy in the aftermath of World War II. President Roosevelt in his 1943 Christmas Eve radio talk said that as long as Britain, Russia, China and the United States stuck together in determination to keep the peace there was no possibility of an aggressor nation arising to start another world war. But the world the UN is called upon to represent today is an immeasurably changed world. Today's problems, as the Secretary General has reminded us are problems that respect no borders, and no laws. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, environmental degradation, alienation and exclusion, conflict, global terrorism, disease and endemic poverty are among the foremost of these. Inescapably, the UN remains the central, indispensable forum in which we can collectively and democratically respond to the challenges that we in common face. But the UN itself is under enormous stress. This strain comes from the structure of the UN itself. As a result the adequacy and effectiveness of the rules and instruments devised over 50 years ago, to bring order and reason to the post World War 11 international scene, are being questioned. The apparent irrelevance of the current multilateral rules and institutions to deal with the manifold problems of today compel our urgent attention. In the words of the Secretary General, it challenges our ability "to deal with the least difficult issues and to do so effectively". Hence the rationale for reform, which is insistent, compelling and radical and cannot be averted. For words without action are meaningless as we learnt in Sri Lanka at bitter cost. Take for example the profound issues surrounding Iraq. There are members in this hall today who believe passionately that the United States and their allies were wrong to intervene in Iraq. Then there are those of us who feel that the United States and their allies had no choice but to intervene, that the failure of the United Nations had created the need for a world policeman however reluctant it might be. But Iraq is more than the divergence of views on a major issue. It shows the inadequacies of the present collective security system. A decision making system which grappled with the issue of Iraq for over a decade without solution and created a deadlock at a most critical time. The UN has already paid a dreadful price. The attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad not only deprived the world community of some of its most devoted and talented servants but raised to the fore issues relating to the mandates entrusted to the United Nations by its Member States. It represents, undoubtedly, a direct challenge. A challenge which must be met. Any reform must be radical in order that in the changed world, so different from that which it was called upon to serve in 1945, the United Nations has the capacity to cope with war, poverty, human rights, terrorism and a dramatically changed environment where weapons of mass destruction have become so potent a symbol. We have to move from rhetoric and cosmetic change to major surgery if we are to come out of the woods. Rhetoric is not a substitute for decisive action. Frantic activity is not a substitute for concerted action and the passing of resolutions do not make a tangible difference to the day to day lives of our peoples. And above all remember that inaction in itself is a deliberate and a considered decision to do nothing. We should not rival the League of Nation's impotence on Abyssinia. The problems we encounter at the present times compel us to courageously and resolutely address and overcome the fundamental inadequacies that afflict our international institutions and processes. This year we had the propitious coming together of three events which have framed thus far the political financial and economic ordering of our world. I refer to this present session of the United Nations General Assembly, the gathering of the Finance Ministers at the Bretton Woods Institutions and the discussions at Cancun on the re-ordering of the World Trade regime. At all three meetings the call for structural reform was insistent and compelling. All three, the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Twins, and GATT were born out of the trauma and dislocation of the Second World War. For over 50 years they have served our many causes in varying ways at times with limited success, at times with despair in their inability to effectively deal with the fundamental problems of the day. After the Asian crisis the Bretton Wood institutions have come under close scrutiny and today we are discussing how the developing countries can have a bigger say in their decision making. The recent experience under the Doha round of the WTO process at Cancun further illustrate the problems that face us. No one expected an agreed formula to come out of Cancun. On the other hand it need not have ended in collapse. The Secretary General's report has identified many of the defects of the system that need to be addressed. Other Speakers too have made proposals in this regard. At this stage, I would like to mention that in our view any expansion of the Security Council as a result of reforms must be of manageable number and Asia must be given its due numbers. This was ignored in 1945. While many have urged radical reform of the structure of the UN so as to make it able to respond to the challenges which confront multilateralism in the present times, most have been hesitant to suggest ideas which are both practical and doable. I believe the time has come for all of us who accept in principle the value of this institution - the United Nations and the objective it stands for, to think out of the box; to think creatively and imaginatively and unconventionally. If I were to hazard an approach it would be on the lines of going back to our roots. The outline of the UN prepared at Dumbarton Oaks in August and September 1944 were agreed to at Yalta in February 1945 at Head of Government level. The Charter was signed at the final meeting in San Francisco in April 1945. All this was completed in just 10 months. I for one, would like to suggest that the Secretary General and a carefully selected group of political leaders could themselves come up with recommendations to reform the United Nations. Their recommendations could be placed before a special session of the General Assembly at which Heads of States and Government will be present. I suggest that the time frame for this need not be any longer than at the inception of the United Nations 58 years ago. In conclusion let us remind ourselves that September 11th was a tragic wake up call for all of us. 19th August was a tragic wake up call for the United Nations. We have before us a historic opportunity. To build a United Nations worthy of the people whom we have the honour to represent. To build a United Nations where honesty is not clouded by diplomacy, where realism replaces rhetoric and where action supplants treaties. Thank you.
Brigadier Rohan Jayasinghe, Defense Attaché to the Embassy of Sri Lanka, along with Anthony Lake, Chairman of the Board of the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), and Perry Baltimore, President of the Marshall Legacy Institute, were honored at a dinner hosted by Sophie and Derek Craighead of Jackson Hole, WY, on Thursday, September, 25th. The dinner completed a series of kick-off events of MLI's new national initiative, CHAMPS, to raise funds to train and deploy a mine detection dog to Sri Lanka. CHAMPS, CHildren Against landMines Program, is a two week educational and fundraising program designed to engage schoolchildren in the global effort to rid the world of the threat of landmines. The children of Wyoming are the first in the nation to participate in the CHAMPS campaign. They are learning about the effects of landmines on children in severely affected countries. Wyoming schoolchildren, in turn, are encouraged to take action to ease the scourge of landmines by contributing a quarter to sponsor their very own mine detection dog. Their dog, to be named Wyoming, will sniff-out landmines and save lives in Sri Lanka. Guests at the Craighead dinner, along with students in selected schools throughout Wyoming, have been treated with a demonstration by dog trainer, Chris Timmer, and his lifesaving dog Rosa, who has worked in Bosnia, Croatia and Namibia. According to Sophie Craighead, a Jackson Hole philanthropist, "if the schoolchildren can raise $20,000 to sponsor a mine detection dog, we will work to do the same with private donors." Dinner guests pledged contributions to sponsor a dog named "Jackson." MLI is a Virginia-based, non-profit organization dedicated to donating trained mine detection dogs to severely contaminated countries. MLI raises tax-deductible private contributions to purchase the dogs, and uses matching government funds to train local handlers to employ the dogs effectively in national mine clearance campaigns. The Sri Lankan Government has requested MLI's assistance in establishing an indigenous mine detection dog program in Sri Lanka. According to Brigadier Jayasinghe, despite the ceasefire after 18 years of fighting between government and rebel forces, "an estimated 700,000 landmines continue to cripple and kill innocent people, instill fear, discourage development and deny use of land in the northern and eastern portions of Sri Lanka." Mrs. Diana Enzi, spouse of Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and CHAMPS chairman, has spearheaded the efforts to launch the school-based program in Wyoming. Anthony Lake, National Security Advisor to former President Bill Clinton, noted that without additional funding and the CHAMPS program, it may take as long as 30 years to free Sri Lanka of mines. "This is unacceptable and unnecessary," said Mr. Lake. By participating in this fund-raising effort, private donors can help reduce the timeline dramatically. Dinner guests also included Tina Close, Bettine Close, Shirley Craighead, Carolyn Dejanikus, Stephen Dynia, Astrid Flood, Ann Frame, Carol and. John Gonella, Renny Jackson, Lucinda and Ed Krajsky, Jackie and Michael Lessac, Tatiana and Paul Maxwell, Bob McGregor, Trish Pillsbury, Benji Podmaniczky, Cathy Poindexter, Susie Rauch, Ed Smail, Ann and Patrick Smith, Liz and Dave Speaks, Bobbi and Ken Thomasma, Melissa Thomasma and Clark Wooley. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 19 September 2003
Lt. Gen. L. P Balagalle RWP RSP VSV USP ndc IG Commander of the Army recently attended the five-day long Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) in Seoul, South Korea from 31 August to 4 September. This Conference on ''Regional Cooperative Approaches to meet common Security Challenges" was attended by representatives from 24 countries, including U.S, Australia, Japan, India, China, Russia and Canada. The Korean and US Armies co-hosted the event. Air Marshal G D Perera VSV USP, Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force is presently in Hawaii at Headquarters Pacific Command to attend the Pacific Air Chiefs Conference. He is due to arrive in Washington DC on September 11th to attend the Global Air Chiefs Conference (GACC) commencing on Monday 15th September. He is accompanied by his wife Dr Mrs Ranjani Perera , his Aide De Camp Squadron Leader Gajanayake and the US Defence Attaché Lt Col Richard S. Girven. The GACC is attended by 93 Air Force Chiefs from all over the world. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 12 September 2003
MLI kicked off its latest initiative - CHAMPs, Children Against Landmines Program, at the offices of Campbell, Crane & Associates. MLI Chairman Anthony Lake, members of Congress, US State Department officials and community members gathered to launch this innovative project to involve the nation's schoolchildren in fighting the global landmine problem. The pilot program for CHAMPS will begin in Wyoming in September 23. Mr. Perry Baltimore, Director Marshall Legacy Institute addressing the distinguished guests at the event. CHAMPS is a two-week educational and fundraising program designed to engage schoolchildren in the global effort to remove landmines. The program promotes awareness of the landmine problem and generates funding to provide highly trained dogs to severely affected countries. As Wyoming's children learn about the impact of landmines on threatened populations, CHAMPS will encourage them to TAKE ACTION and help others by sponsoring a lifesaving dog named "Wyoming." "Wyoming" will go to Sri Lanka along with an elite team of five other mine detection dogs to help Sri Lankans free their country of mines, restore land to productive use and allow the safe return of hundreds of thousands of refugees to their homes. In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and the Government of Sri Lanka, all Wyoming students (K-12) will have the opportunity to participate in the sponsorship program. MLI Chairman Anthony Lake, MLI President Perry Baltimore, Diana Enzi (wife of Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi) and Ambassador Devinda Subasinghe of Sri Lanka will visit Cheyenne, Casper and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, along with a mine detection dog team, to deliver landmine presentations and demonstrations at area schools. "I am so thrilled that Wyoming is the first state to participate in this national campaign where children will be helping children around the world," said Mrs. Enzi at the kick-off hosted by Jeanne Campbell of Campbell Crane & Associates. Brigadier Rohan Jayasinghe, defense attaché to the Sri Lanka embassy, explained how landmines continue to threaten the safety and stability of many in Sri Lanka as it emerges from two decades of civil war. In the past 20 years, an astonishing 700,000 to 1 million landmines have been laid in the ground. Many mines have been placed in heavily populated areas and fertile farmland. This has resulted in disastrous effects upon agricultural land, villages, roads, water resources, and livestock. In Chavakachcheri alone, one of the most ravaged villages, it is estimated that it will cost $3.2 million to clear the landmines. Specially trained dogs are one of the best detectors of landmines available in the field today. Carefully selected dogs sniff the odor of explosives and alert their handlers as to the precise location of landmines for removal. Some 700 dogs are working in 23 countries around the world, but many more of these wonderful animals are needed. Through CHAMPS, MLI will help satisfy this need. Notable guests included Senator and Mrs. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Rep. Foley (R-FL), Rep. McDermott (D-WA), Rep. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Neal (D-MA), and James Lawrence from the Office of Mine Action Initiatives & Partnerships at the US Department of State. For more information on the Marshall Legacy Institute, visit the website at www.marshall-legacy.org Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 10 September 2003

Direct contacts will result in expansion of apparel exports

Five Apparel exporters from Sri Lanka visited New York, which is the central point in the US for apparel industry. The meetings were held between August 20th - 22nd 2003, with major apparel buyers and importers in the US to establish direct contacts with a view to increasing market share of Sri Lanka's exports. The programme of meetings in New York for the apparel mission was arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, as a part of the strategy to prepare for the quota free market after year 2005. The visiting Sri Lankan apparel exporters met on a one-to-one basis with a wide cross section of apparel buyers in the US. They ranged from major retaliators such as JC Penny to national brands such as, Tommy Hilfiger and Jordache and to large and medium size apparel buyers including Lollytogs, Roytex Apparel, Brylane, Jamie Brooke, Donnkenny Apparel, etc. The Sri Lankan apparel vendors learned first hand the future direction of the US apparel market, changes taking places in the supply chain management, and to establish new contacts and to renew relations with existing buyers. Sri Lankan exporters received a number of inquiries from potential buyers. Major retailers such as JC Penny and importers such as Haddad Apparel, Tommy Hilfiger, Lollytogs mentioned that they are planning to follow up their discussions by visiting Sri Lankan factories. The representative from JC Penny said that "The needlework from Sri Lanka is the finest needlework apparel buyers could get anywhere in the world. However, Sri Lanka needs to improve its price competitiveness to be far with prices quoted by other Asian and South American suppliers". A representative of Haddad Apparel which is the number one kids wear company in the US said that they are extremely happy with their business relations and that they are looking forward to grow their sourcing from Sri Lanka and thus provides increased US market share. He also pointed out the necessity to reduce the lead time required by Sri Lankan exporters and bring down the price level to that of Thailand and Indonesia. A visiting Sri Lankan Apparel Exporter expressing his satisfaction on the program said that the meetings were useful in establishing contacts with new buyers, learning what is going on in the US market and identifying market trends. He also emphasized the usefulness of making direct contacts with buyers and having one to one discussions. The Sri Lankan apparel exporters who visited New York includes; Shadow Line Apparels, Viking Fashions, Union Apparels, Kane Apparels and Hi Q Fashion Ltd. These companies also will participate in "ASAP" Show, which is scheduled to take place from 24th to 27th in Las Vegas. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 23 August 2003
The U.S. Government has awarded a $ 560,000 grant to the Government of Sri Lanka to fund a technical assistance program for providing consultancy services on the development of a 300MW coal fired power plant. This grant was awarded to Sri Lanka through the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Mr. James F. Entwistle, Chargé d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, and Mr. Charitha Ratwatte, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance,at the signing of a U.S. Government grant for development of a 300 MW power plant in Sri Lanka.

The agreement extending the grant was singed by Mr. James F Entwistle, Charge d' Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka on behalf of the U.S. Government and Mr. Charitha Ratwatte, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, at the Ministry of Finance, Colombo. Ambassador Devinda R Subasinghe said "I am pleased that the agreement for extending a technical assistance programme on the development of 300MW coal fired power plant was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the U.S. As discussed with Ms. Thelma Askey, Director TDA, I hope this is just the beginning of TDA assistance for many more projects in key sectors with potential for foreign investment in Sri Lanka. This grant and a few more in the pipeline, with undoubtedly, enhance bilateral trade and investment opportunities for US companies in Sri Lanka". The Government of Sri Lanka has identified power generation as a priority sector for foreign direct investment. The electricity generating system is in transition from a predominant hydro power generated system to a mixed hydrothermal system. Technical Assistance Programme for providing consultancy services on the development of coal fired power plant is vital to Sri Lanka's efforts to diversify its power generation system. The present total installed capacity in Sri Lanka, is 1409 MW, of which the hydro power generated capacity is 1,137 MW. A 10 per cent annual growth in power consumption is forecast. In order to meet this demand, the country needs to generate an additional 1530 MW by year 2008. Therefore, Sri Lanka looks, increasingly at non-hydro power sources i.e., thermal and other renewable energy sources to be developed under private sector initiatives. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 29 July 2003