Ayuobovan, Welcome, Shalom Hon. Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs

wish you a happy birthday in advance and many happy returns. Dear Excellencies, leaders of the business community, members of the commuity, members of the staff led by major general Jagath Alwis and other community members gathered today for our 66th national day braving the cold weather. We proudly celebrate our national day on 4th February in Sri Lanka and worldwide through the Sri Lankan embassies worldwide and the expatriate community.

Both our countries are blessed with great cultures and heritage that run back to thousands of years. We have many issues in common and maintain close bonds politically and economically. Sri Lanka regained her sovereignty in 1948 after great struggles of hundreds of years from foreign domination. We remember with dedication the massacre of Sri Lankans fought for freedom during the rebellion against colonialism in1817 for our motherland. Both Sri Lanka and Israel gained independence in 1948 and the progress made by Israel in hi-tech, water, dairy, agriculture, and many other areas are unprecedented. Israel is a world leader on these sectors. She has become a world leader with not many natural resources but sheer dedication, commitment, will power and strategy on high tech and innovations. She has tapped and exploited the available natural resources masterminding wonders in hi-tech.

Sri Lanka is an educated nation with the highest literacy rate in Asia and an excellent, internationally-famed labour force. My country is blessed with natural resources including gems, phospate, graphite, natural beauty and the great cultural diversity and history assimilated with great religions. Progress and development of the nation was retarded due to the war on terrror that engulfed the nation over three decades due to terrorist activities by a section of a misguided armed group assisted by foreign elements. Sri Lanka won the war the world considered unwinnable due to the strategy and leadership of the Sri Lankan President who masterminded the victory. We thank our close friends who helped us in defence and logistics to free ourselves and the entire South Asia from terror.

Any war is unplesent and bitter. We are now on the verge of completion of the resettlement, reconcillation, and reconstruction process remarkably within a short span of time with unpredcedend speed, and success, with development of infrastructure and transforming the livelihoods of formerly terrorist-affected people and areas to tourism and investment hubs. Development and progress including infrastructure in the North and East of Sri Lanka has been given top priority.

LRRC - the internal mechanism on reconciliation, resettlement and reconstruction has identified the main issues and the recommendations are already being implemented. We are now in the voyage for progress and prosperity enjoying the fruits of peace dawn after a long struggle. We maintain the highest standards on human rights - all kinds of freedoms and gross happiness based on international standards.

Now we are in need of close friends and partners in development and - needs partners to share our experiences and harness achievements in hi-tech, education, talent and experiences in building our nation.

Israel is an ideal partner for us to share our education and talents with their knoledge and experience on hi–tech to assimilate with the resources and resourceful Sri Lankans.

In addition to the peace and stability we are blessed with, Sri Lanka is a booming tourist destination, maritime hub, and a commercial hub, at the centre stage of the world hub in the new economic and political world order. We are now on our journey for progress for which we need new social economic and political strategies that include modern infrastutare such as ports, airports, highways, and the latest trends on industry, commerce, trade, and education.

Recent historic visit of my president to Israel is the visit ever by a Sri Lankan head of state to this beautiful and gifted nation. As the current leader of the commenwealth of 54 nations and G-77 economic group, the visit has catalyzed  and strengthened our historical and existing relations between the two countries that share the high values and friendly and warm ties.

Our foreign policy, based on Mahinda Chinthanaya, the policy document of the government is simple. It is a non-aligned foreign policy with commitment to justice based on the theme “friendly with everybody and angry with none”. We are a senior member of the world family active in all international affairs.

Like any other member of the world family, we too face challenges politically and economically. We are a friendly nation with a large circle of friends who will rally round us at our need of the hour for us to lay the foundation for the success of our children and future generations who will inherit our land to live in peace and harmony. We pledge to build a solid and bright future for our motherland and people are already enjoying the peace and freedom we have won. We specially urge the embassies of the member nations of the Human Rights Commission to communicate with us for any assistance and information on Sri Lanka on the forthcoming meeting in Geneva in March this year on Sri Lanka and look forward to meeting each and every one of them in the near future for a briefing on my country and high international standards maintained an all aspects.

I should thank the deputy minister, the Excellancies and all those present again and again with our traditional and customary practice ‘Ayuobowan’. I thank the staff and Sri Lankan community and the helpers of the embassy for the assistance given for the occasion.  My beloved wife who has personally taken charge of food and led other arrangements for the occasion is fondly remembered.

I wish a bright future to every one of you, progress and prosperity to Sri Lanka, Israel and members of the world family and peace and happiness to the mankind. May you live in peace and harmony and may the world be peaceful place for the human beings to lead a peaceful and blissful life.

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