Sri Lanka: European Union delegation meets President Wickremesinghe, assures support to overcome crisis

Reported By:DNA Web Team| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: DNA Web Desk |Updated: Aug 12, 2022, 07:50 PM IST

During a meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the European Union (EU) delegation in Sri Lanka reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the island nation through the current crisis and urged him to prioritise the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Human Rights Council.

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“We agree bringing Sri Lanka back on track requires joint and inclusive action on foreign affairs,” the delegation said and emphasized the need to give special attention to three ongoing key processes GSP+, bailout package from the IMF, and Human Rights Council, NewsWire reported.

The EU Delegation in Sri Lanka tweeted that its ambassadors had a fruitful meeting with the country’s president.

“Had a constructive meeting w/ [email protected]_UNP today is a partner in challenging times. For us, protection of civil & #humanrights, above all freedom of expression and right to dissent is of utmost importance. We agree bringing back on track requires joint & inclusive action,” the tweet read.

The European Union further stressed the need of Sri Lanka’s government taking meaningful action to ensure the success of these initiatives.

In order to get Sri Lanka back on track, the EU delegation stated, “joint and inclusive action on foreign affairs is the need of the hour,” and they assured Sri Lanka of a tangible collaboration.

The team also stressed the critical necessity of safeguarding civil and human rights, including the freedom of speech and the right to protest.

A worsening economic crisis and government default on international debts have plagued Sri Lanka since the start of 2022. Some 5.7 million people “need urgent humanitarian assistance,” the UN has said.

Protests started peacefully in March as many people in Sri Lanka experienced severe shortages of food and fuel.

Protests forced the resignation of both former leaders: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 9 and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on July 13 after he fled the country.

Wickremasinghe took over as interim president, and on July 20 he was officially elected president with the backing of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the political party founded by the Rajapaksas.

(With inputs from ANI)

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