Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines visits Sri Lanka; Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris on four days official visit to Washington; Mahinda Rajapaksa visits Qatar to participate in the 12th Doha Forum; Thirteen member Chinese
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  • According to reports, Sri Lanka and the Philippines have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of spheres, including education, science and technology, tourism, trade, agriculture and reciprocal capacity building in expatriate labour. This was agreed upon during a meeting between Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera and Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs (rank of Deputy Minister) of the Philippines Madam Erlinda F. Basilio, who visited the country on an invitation extended by the Deputy Minister from 14th to 15th May. 1

    In another development, according to reports, Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris was on four days official visit to Washington from May 15-18, 2012. Prof. Peiris took part in a series of Capitol Hill meetings on the second of his four-day official visit to Washington, discussing with members of the House of Representatives Sri Lanka’s progress in post-conflict reconciliation and development, as well as reform measures that are designed to ensure a lasting peace. Minister explained that the Sri Lankan government has developed a mechanism for implementation of LLRC recommendations accepted by the government, which will be directed out of the office of Sri Lanka’s presidential secretariat. 2

    On the third day of his four-day official visit to the U.S. Minister Peiris met with Samantha Power, special assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama and senior director of Multilateral Affairs on the staff of the White House National Security Council (NSC) and Michael Newbill, the NSC director for South Asia. 3

    Minister then met the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on May 18 for about 45 minutes. "The foreign minister presented a very serious and comprehensive approach to the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission's implementation and the plans that the government has, including plans to make it more public and accessible both to Sri Lankans and to those outside Sri Lanka, what the government intends to do in the implementation realm," the State Department said. Later Mrs. Clinton said "We are encouraged by the steps that Sri Lanka has taken".4

    Reports noted that President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at Qatar on May 19, 2012 on a special invitation from Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to participate in the 12th Doha Forum and Enriching the Middle East Economic Future Conference. 5

    According to reports, thirteen member Chinese Communist Party delegation led by Deputy Secretary of Law and Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Government Wang Lequan came to Sri Lanka on a goodwill visit at an invitation extended by the governing Sri Lanka Freedom Party. 6

    In other developments, reports noted that the cabinet of ministers of Sri Lanka has approved a proposal forwarded by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to amend the Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948 and the Immigration and Emigration Act No.20 of 1948 with a view to formalizing the granting of Dual Citizenship by the establishment of the "Overseas Sri Lankans" Scheme. 7