On the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence, a reception organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris was hosted by Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Madame Sanja Jayatilleka. A large and distinguished gathering of Ambassadors from the bilateral arena as well as Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates accredited to UNESCO and senior officials of the UNESCO Secretariat were present at the reception. Several prominent business leaders who engage very closely with Sri Lanka were also present.
Addressing the annual diplomatic reception Ambassador Jayatilleka said that Sri Lanka was proud that it had prevailed over the long standing challenge of armed secessionism that sought to dismember the country, but it was also mindful that the errors, gaps and contradictions of the past led to that thirty years war. He said that Sri Lanka was in the complex and difficult transition from the termination of an armed threat and large scale violence, to a sustainable peace. Such a peace can only be built, as the wise saying goes, in the minds of men and women; and must be based on justice, equality and democracy. Ambassador Jayatilleka informed the gathering that on the very eve of this year’s Independence celebrations, the second round of discussions between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance, the most prominent of the parties representing the Tamil people of the former war zone, had been conducted, concluding with agreement on approximate dates for the third round. Thanking the international community for standing by Sri Lanka in its difficult struggle for the restoration of territorial integrity, Ambassador Jayatilleka said that his mandate both in France and with UNESCO was to broaden space and expand dialogue, discussion, contacts and interconnectivity.
Ambassadors of India, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Germany, the Vatican, Slovakia as well as Chargés d’affaires of several Embassies and Permanent Delegations including Pakistan, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cameroon, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, and Kuwait among others were present.