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Extremely happy with current economic situation, peacefulness and daily life of Sri Lanka – US Ambassador Julie Chung

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A meeting between the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, President’s Counsel, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie J. Chung was held at the Ministry of Justice on Monday morning (08).

Justice Minister and the Ambassador exchanged views on the Anti-Terrorism Bill, National Unity and Reconciliation Office Bills to be submitted to the Parliament.

Making his views the Minister of Justice said: “The Anti-Terrorism Bill has been submitted with the necessary amendments. Steps have been taken to discuss it with the representatives of political parties and civil organizations and to inform the Government officials through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the preparation of this Bill, the anti-terrorism laws of other countries were studied. Criticisms were raised on several aspects of the Bill. Those matters have been amended accordingly.”

The Minister explained about the amendments made in the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Information was exchanged between the US Ambassador and the minister about the new hydrology Bill drafted in relation to navigation and maritime affairs such as the establishment of the hydrology service, the regularization of hydrological measurements, the creation of nautical maps and other related activities.

The Minister of Justice informed the Ambassador about the National Unity and Reconciliation Bill and expressing his opinion on the Bill he said that the National Unity and Reconciliation Bill has been submitted to the Parliament and in order to create peace and harmony in the village through the Bill, the establishment of Reconciliation Committees covering all the domains of village services has already started.

He also said that the National Unity and Reconciliation Office has organized several programmes with Jaffna district as the main focus of this year’s Thai Pongal festival. Matters were exchanged about the “Yukthiya” special operation which is being implemented to control the menace of drugs which has become a serious problem and the prison facilities available to house the people arrested through that operation. It is said that full attention has been paid to the rehabilitation of addicts.

The Minister said that the prison regulations have been amended, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Act has been passed, and programmes have been launched together with the United Nations Office on Crime and Narcotics to control the use of drugs.

The Minister of Justice said that he appreciates America’s support for the economic reforms, maintaining the peaceful life and development process of Sri Lanka, and expects it to continue.

The US Ambassador said that she is extremely happy with the current economic situation in Sri Lanka, with the peaceful environment and people’s lives being restored, and said that the protection of small and medium scale entrepreneurs is extremely important, and the steps taken by the “Yukthiya” Mission to eliminate drugs from Sri Lanka is very important. The ambassador further said that the people who are transporting and distributing narcotics should be brought under control and she appreciates the adoption of the National Hydrology draft Bill and the National Unity and Reconciliation Office draft Bill.

There was an exchange of views on national unity and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, where the Minister of Justice said that the Mahanayaka Theras and the Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka are working in the best possible way for national and religious unity. But the Minister said that a minority group of monks are doing actions that disturb peace and harmony, and because of that, a wrong image is being created about Sri Lanka both nationally and internationally.

The Minister requested US Ambassador Julie Chung to provide training for the high officials of the Attorney General’s Department and other institutions, and she said that she would work for it.

Attorney General, President’s Counsel, Sanjay Rajaratnam, Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, M. N. Ranasinghe, and Additional Secretary Piyumanthi Peiris also joined the meeting.

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