Waldner: “Reconciliation as a means for recovery and development”
Austrian State Secretary visits Sri Lanka
Colombo, 30 April 2012 – “My talks revolved around Sri Lanka’s current economic situation and the opportunities that Austrian businesses can derive from it. We were discussing projects to the value of some 100 million euros and I supported their realization”, State Secretary Waldner said. More than 30 Austrian companies are already involved in the energy and environmental sector, in the hospital and health care business, infrastructure and technical training in Sri Lanka. “After the end of the civil war and the recovery of tourism, new opportunities for Austrian companies could also evolve in this area and they could become involved in the rebuilding of the country”, the State Secretary said on the occasion of his visit to Colombo. Waldner held working meetings today with the Minister for Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, and Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera; and he opened a business forum for Austrian and Sri Lankan business people.
State Secretary Waldner is the first government representative from the European Union to visit the country following adoption of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka. “At this moment it is of particular importance to intensify dialogue and to explain our position so as to create a solid basis for a further deepening of relations”, Waldner said. In the light of this objective the progress made in the reconciliation process was a focal element of the talks.
Waldner also used the visit to exchange reflections on the current situation in Sri Lanka with the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.
The Austrian State Secretary welcomed Sri Lanka’s recent extension of its Embassy in Vienna as a regional centre for its diplomatic missions. “This will contribute to further strengthening of our partnership and underlines the importance of Vienna as the seat of international organisations and gate to Central and Eastern Europe”, Waldner concluded.
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