Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament, attending the 135th Session of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva, was invited to chair the emergency session on Syria called by the IPU Assembly on 25th October. The Session had before it a Resolution titled “The war and the severe humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly in Aleppo” presented by Germany and Mexico. Pursuant to the General Debate, a Drafting Committee was mandated to discuss and present the finalized Resolution on 27th October 2016, for the consideration of the IPU Assembly.
The Speaker and the Sri Lanka delegation also had a courtesy meeting with the Secretary-General of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Mr. Martin Chungong. During the discussion, Mr. Chungong noted the positive developments in Sri Lanka and the democratic gains. Hon. Speaker stressed the contribution of parliaments and parliamentarians in the democratic process and underscored the need to strengthen parliaments as well as the importance of building networks between the parliaments and parliamentarians. Mr. Chungong agreed with the Speaker to enhance cooperation between Sri Lanka and the IPU.
The Speaker and the cross party delegation also held bilateral discussions with the delegations of Germany, the Russian Federation, Bhutan, Maldives, France, and China.
At the bilateral meeting with German delegation led by Madam Sabine Sutterlin-Waack, Sri Lanka and Germany agreed to further strengthen parliamentary cooperation, including through exchanges of parliamentary delegations. In addition, cooperation between Friedrich Naumann Foundation of Germany and the J.R. Jayawardena Centre, particularly in the areas of research, training and capacity building of the parliament and parliamentarians was discussed.
The Sri Lanka delegation discussed the signing of a Cooperation Agreement between the two Parliaments with the Russian delegation. Hon. Iliyas Umakhanov, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation of Russia said that they looked forward to welcoming a Sri Lanka parliamentary delegation which is scheduled to visit Russia in March 2017.
The Speaker of Bhutan Hon. Jigme Zangpo, thanked Sri Lanka for the opportunities for many Bhutanese students to pursue education particularly in the medical field in the universities in Sri Lanka and the two speakers discussed the exchanges of parliamentary delegations.
At the bilateral meeting with the Maldivian delegation, the Speaker was briefed on the political developments by the Maldivian Speaker Hon. Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed.
On 24th October the Speaker and the delegation held a bilateral meeting with Madam Michele Andre, leader of the French delegation. They recalled the close bilateral ties between the two countries marked by several high-level visits to and from both countries in the recent past. The Speaker extended an invitation to the Chairs of both the Senate and the Assembly of the French Parliament to visit Sri Lanka. The Speaker also drew attention to several issues of interest to Sri Lanka concerning Education, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, Trade and Intelligence Sharing etc. In this context, it was noted that two Cooperation Agreements had been signed between the two countries covering education and culture. Also the French Travel Agents will be organizing their Congress in Sri Lanka on 31st October.
The Speaker and the delegation met with the Vice-Chairperson of the National People’s Congress of China and the leader of the delegation Madam Yan Junqi. Mr. Wang Xiaochu, the Vice-Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC and the President of the Sri Lanka-China Parliament Friendship Group, and the Permanent Representative of China to UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu were present at the meeting. The Speaker thanked the Chinese Government for the excellent hospitality extended and for the arrangements during the recent visit to China by a cross-party delegation led by him which enabled the visiting Parliamentarians to understand the parliamentary system of China, and it was agreed to continue such visits as part of greater cooperation and friendship between the two parliaments. It was further discussed to explore the possibility of a Cooperation Agreement between the two Parliaments. The Speaker renewed the invitation to the Vice-Chairperson to visit Sri Lanka.
Associated with the Speaker at the bilateral discussions were Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Hon. Vijitha Herath, Hon. Rohini Kumari Wijerathna, Hon. Velu Kumar, and Mr. Dhammika Dasanayake, Secretary General of Parliament, H.E. Ravinatha Aryasinha/Permanent Representative of UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya/Deputy Permanent Representative and Ms. Shashika Somaratne/Counsellor.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka