Sri Lanka Opposition Leader requests EU delegation not to withdraw GSP+ concessions
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 10:56 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Sept 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has told a visiting European Union delegation on Tuesday that the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) tariff concessions is a great strength to the country and requested the visiting delegation not to withdraw the concessions granted to Sri Lanka.
A special meeting between the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and representatives of the European Commission was held at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo Tuesday (28).
The delegation has visited Sri Lanka to study whether or not the GSP Plus concession that the country was able to win during the previous government should be extended.
The delegation is here to study the current situation in the country, the rule of law, human rights, freedom and equality, reconciliation, the environment, media freedom, civil liberties and many other issues.
During the relevant meeting, the Opposition Leader emphasized that the GSP Plus concession is a great strength to our country and that the necessary support should be provided to continue to grant it to our country. He also thanked the European Commission for its financial assistance to Sri Lanka, GSP Plus and international relief.
The two sides had a lengthy discussion on Coronavirus disaster and current issues, and the Opposition Leader called on relevant delegates to provide necessary support to move Sri Lanka forward.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa told delegates of the European Commission that his party’s foreign policy is a non-aligned foreign policy and that Sri Lanka is a land of peace, not a land of power struggles for super powers.
The Leader of the Opposition said that Samagi Jana Balawegaya would continue to stand up for the role of a responsible modern opposition at this hour.
He said the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, as a futuristic political party based on the green concept, is formulating economic as well as social plans and policies and added that his camp represents the role of a modernist opposition that does not engage in opportunistic politics in the face of current situation the country has encountered.
Premadasa also said that he is unconditionally fulfilling his responsibilities as a people’s opposition and that he is committed to safeguarding human rights, intervening for democracy, fighting for media freedom and upholding the rule of law and that he will continue to extend his cooperation to all people-friendly and constructive activities.
The EC delegation focused on protection of human rights, expansion of democratic space for people, devolution and balancing of power between legislature / judiciary and the executive etc. and the Leader of the Opposition pointed out the importance of drawing attention of the government towards positive achievement of the above said factors.
European Commission delegation consisted of Luis Prats (Head of Unit – International Affairs), Denis Chaibi (Ambassador – Head of Delegation), Thorsten Bargfrede (Deputy Head of Mission – Head of Political, Trade and Communications Section), Loannis Giogkarakis Argyropoulos (Head of Division- Regional Affairs and South Asia), Guido Dolara (Policy Officer – Bilateral relations in Trade and Sustainable Development Generalised Scheme of Preferences), Nikolaos Zaimis (Senior Advisor – Sustainable Development Economic Partnership Agreements GSP), Anne Vaugier Chatterjee (Deputy Head – Political, Trade & Communications Sections).
Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, Treasurer of Samagi Jana Balawegaya Harsha de Silva, Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition Ravi Jayawardana and others were present with Leader of the Opposition at this occasion.