Sri Lanka’s war torn image still hurting economic prospects: diplomat

July 25, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs to improve its image overseas and promote a stable macroeconomic environment to help build bilateral trade links and attract more foreign investors, a Dutch diplomat said. Bas Van Noordenne, Netherland’s deputy head of mission in Sri Lanka told a business forum that people still associate Sri Lanka with the separatist Tamil Tigers even after three years of ending the island’s bloody civil war.

“Companies are still little bit hesitant to have direct trading contacts and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka,” Noordenne said.

“It takes time to change the image of the country especially if you have known Sri Lanka only by the 30 year conflict and don’t know that it ended three years ago,”

“When I tell people in Netherlands that I work in Sri Lanka, the first thing they say are Tamil Tigers.”

Noordenne was speaking at a Sri Lanka – Netherlands bilateral trade seminar organized by the National Chamber of Commerce.

Sri Lanka’s military crushed Tamil Tiger separatists in May 2009 ending a three decade uprising in the island’s north and east.

Ethnic tensions, three armed uprisings, terror attacks, deteriorating rule of law and human rights viol