President Mahinda Rajapaksa addresses the UN General Assembly, calls for a rethinking on the international humanitarian laws governing the fight against terrorism; Rajapaksa holds bilateral talks with Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Germany and Norway;
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  • President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his delegation visited New York to attend the 65th session of UN General Assembly summit. Rajapaksa addressed the UN General Assembly on September 23 where he called for a rethinking on the international humanitarian laws governing the fight against terrorism.1 On the sideline of the UN Summit meeting, he held talks with his Iranian counterpart President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rajapaksa also held bilateral talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, President of Turkey Abdullah Gul, as well as Chancellor of Germany.2 As outcomes of bilateral discussions, the Emir of Qatar agreed to support Sri Lanka’s request for Observer Status in the Organization of Islamic Nation. He has also responded favourably to Rajapaksa’s request to supply Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to Sri Lanka for developmental needs and help in the development of tourism sector.3 However, agenda of bilateral meeting between Turkish President Gul and President Rajapaksa included Turkish assistance to Sri Lanka in the construction and tourism sector as well as relaxation of taxes by Turkey on the import of tea from Sri Lanka.4

    During his visit to the United Nations, President Rajapaksa also participated in the three day United Nations sessions on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sixth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiatives (CGI).5 On the sideline of the sessions on MDGs, President and his delegation met Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Norwegian Development Minister Eric Solheim. During the meeting, Norway showed interest for investment in the social and economic sectors of Sri Lanka.6

    Sri Lanka is planning to construct its first nuclear power plant of 1,000 MW by 2030 aimed at generating cheap electricity to draw large investments and boost its post-war economy. Sri Lanka's Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy M.M.C. Ferdinando stated, "We have received government clearance to set up a nuclear power plant of 1,000 MW."7

    With regards to India-Sri Lanka economic ties, trade between both the countries has increased significantly following the implementation of Free Trade Agreement. Reports noted that during the first seven months of 2010, Sri Lanka's exports to India have increased by 45 % and India's exports to Sri Lanka by 41%.8

    In other developments, Coir Board of India Chairman V.S. Vijayaraghavan and other officials met with a 19-member official delegation headed by the Sri Lankan Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and Rural Industries and Rural Development Udalamatta Gamage at the Coir House in India and sought the support of the Sri Lankan Government to evolve a joint marketing strategy of collective bargaining in the growing global market for coir and coir products. The two countries combine account for 80 per cent of the total world production of coir.9