UNAOC envoy pledges aid to combat terrorism | Daily News

UNAOC envoy pledges aid to combat terrorism

High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos and President Maithripala Sirisena during the discussions.
High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos and President Maithripala Sirisena during the discussions.

High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos visited Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 30, to pay his respects to the people and Sri Lankan government and expressed the support of the United Nations for the government’s efforts in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

This is the first visit by any high-level official to Sri Lanka since the heinous terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday that targeted three Catholic churches and three hotels in the country. During his one-day visit, Moratinos met with the political leadership, religious leaders, representatives of the civil society, the UN Resident Coordinator as well as the UN Country Team.

In his meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena, the High-Representative conveyed his personal sympathies as well as the condolences of the UN Secretary-General to the President. Moratinos expressed his solidarity and support to President Sirisena, stressing that Sri Lankans are not alone. On his part, the President expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the visit and support of the High-Representative. President Maithripala Sirisena noted that though Sri Lanka is going through a tragic and difficult time, he is determined to move forward and restore security and safety in the country. The High-Representative re-iterated that the UN stands ready to support those efforts to help in restoring harmony, unity and social cohesion and stressed that there is an urgent need to find an agreeable long-term solution to the problem of asylum seekers and refugees in Sri Lanka to ensure their safety and well-being. Around 1,600 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly Ahmadi Muslims had been under attack in the wake of the Easter bombings.

Moratinos also met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with whom he exchanged views on current efforts undertaken to restore the unity and peaceful co-existence in society. The High-Representative was keen on meeting with Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and the Congress of Religions which included representatives of different faiths such as Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Catholics. Moratinos commended the religious leaders for their exemplary approach in unifying communal harmony and peace during difficult times.

He emphasised that he stands behind their efforts and encouraged them to continue doing the good work which aim at healing the community and preventing attempts to drive a wedge among different communities. During his visit, Moratinos also exchanged views on the current situation, with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. The High-Representative also met with the UN Country Team and representatives of the civil society.

During his meetings in Colombo, the High-Representative discussed aspects of his Plan of Action for Safeguarding Religious Sites seeking the input and guidance of the different stakeholders he met in Sri Lanka.


 

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