Japan's Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications visits Sri Lanka; Six-member British parliament delegation visits Sri Lanka; Proposal for Sri Lanka as the venue for international arbitrations; MR orders appointment of commission to look into the
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  • Japan's Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr. Yoshitaka Shindo visited Sri Lanka on July 28. The visit was a follow-up to the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tokyo in March and the visit of Deputy Prime Minister of Japan and Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Finance, Mr. Taro Aso in May this year. 1

    In another development, the six-member British parliament delegation arrived in Sri Lanka on July 22, concluded their five-day visit on July 26, after meetings in Parliament with the government leaders. The delegation led by Conservative MP Eleanor Laing was in Sri Lanka to hold discussions on bilateral issues including the preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in November in Colombo and to observe the progress of UK-funded projects. The delegation met with the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in Parliament yesterday. However a meeting scheduled with the Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was cancelled at the last minute. 2

    In other developments, according to reports, during his two day visit to the Netherlands, Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris met with Hugo Sieblesz, Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and Judge Hishashi Owada, Judge of the International Court of Justice and formerly President of that Court. Minister Peiris suggested a greater role for Sri Lanka as the venue for international arbitrations when he met Hugo Sieblesz. Prof. Peiris has apprised Judge Owada of initiatives taken by Sri Lanka recently, especially, Sri Lanka's active role in the international arena in security of sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, climate change, promotion of alternative sources of energy, disarmament and nuclear proliferation, and the contribution by Sri Lanka to the South-South Dialogue for promoting trade and collaboration among developing countries. 3

    According to reports, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to appoint a commission to look into the incidents of disappearance that have taken place during the 30 years of conflict. 4