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Opposition Leader calls for innovative foreign policy, addresses stolen assets and Israel-Palestinian conflict

Colombo (LNW): Speaking at the parliament today (07), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa highlighted the pivotal role foreign policy plays in governance, emphasising its impact on the nation. He stressed the necessity for a results-driven and innovative foreign policy, citing its potential benefits for Sri Lanka.

Premadasa expressed concern over Sri Lanka’s track record in adhering to agreements, labelling it as dismal. He criticised the government’s introduction of the Online Safety and Anti-Terrorism Bills, claiming they erode the core principles of democracy, specifically freedom of speech and thought.

The Opposition Leader highlighted instances where Sri Lankan funds were disbursed under the guise of safeguarding the country’s foreign policy interests, referencing an individual named Zuberi among the recipients. He reiterated the Supreme Court’s revelation of parties culpable for the country’s fiscal deterioration due to violations of citizens’ fundamental rights, advocating for a comprehensive programme to reclaim misappropriated national assets.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa also questioned the government whether any quantitative and qualitative assessments were done when embarking on Free Trade Agreements. He noted that Sri Lanka needs to train the government personnel to make sure that they come to agreements that are mutually advantageous to Sri Lanka.

Addressing the government’s purported stance on human rights protection, he criticised its mishandling of issues concerning the Islamic community during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the contentious matter of cremation and burial practices. He blamed the ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for making abhorrent and racist decisions during his tenure.

He affirmed that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya holds steadfast to policies devoid of ethnic or religious bias, unlike the government’s approach purportedly tied to electoral calculations. The Opposition Leader also condemned the government’s blatant disregard for World Health Organisation guidelines and assured unwavering support for the rights of the Muslim and Islamic communities.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa also voiced Sri Lanka’s unwavering stance on global peace and security amidst the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. He unequivocally denounced the abhorrent targeting of civilians in the conflict, labelling it a reprehensible act that weaponises innocent lives as shields. He mentioned that SJB advocates for the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Emphasising the critical need for international peace as a precursor to global stability, he urged collective efforts towards fostering an environment of harmony and security on the world stage. The Opposition Leader’s impassioned remarks underscored Sri Lanka’s commitment to advocating for peace and condemning acts that jeopardise the safety and well-being of civilians worldwide.

The Opposition Leader also articulated the imperative need to recover financial assets siphoned from Sri Lanka and stashed abroad. He underscored the necessity for government officials to shift focus to actively pursuing initiatives aimed at identifying and recovering the ill-gotten gains of those who plundered the nation’s financial resources.

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