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China vows friendship, cooperation with Sri Lanka, UAE, Algeria, Serbia

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BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) —

China has vowed to strengthen cooperation and deepen traditional friendship with Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Algeria and Serbia, said a senior Chinese diplomat Monday.

Wrapping up his visits to the four countries, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, told Chinese press that it is a journey of friendship, trust, synergy and cooperation.

Currently, with the profound changes of the world unseen in a century deepening and the COVID-19 pandemic still raging globally, the international situation is becoming more unstable and uncertain, Yang said.

It is a common and urgent need of the international community to join hands in fighting the pandemic, unite for recovery and strengthen global governance, he said.

During his visits, Yang said, in-depth exchanges have been made with the four countries on such major issues as implementing the important consensus reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of the four countries, consolidating their traditional friendship, deepening practical cooperation and addressing global challenges together, and they have reached many consensus.

This is a journey of consolidating friendship and deepening mutual trust, and also a journey of strengthening synergy and expanding practical cooperation, Yang said.

First, the visits have strengthened communication and consolidated political mutual trust, he said.

Yang stressed that China is ready to maintain close high-level exchanges with the four countries, strengthen practical cooperation, continue supporting each other on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

The four countries spoke highly of their relations with China, reaffirmed that they pursue positive policies towards China, understand and support China in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, Yang noted.

Second, he said China and the four countries have tapped their potential for deepened mutually-beneficial cooperation.

China and Sri Lanka agree to, with high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road as a main focus, build two major cooperative engines for comprehensive development of Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port, make shipping logistics and industrial cooperation bigger and stronger, and enhance financial and trade cooperation, Yang said.

He said China and the UAE vowed to actively advance high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road, strengthen cooperation on the resumption of work and production, and firmly promote 5G cooperation.

China and Algeria agree to formulate a new five-year plan for comprehensive strategic cooperation through consultation, and comprehensively expand bilateral cooperation in the fields of digital economy, communications, transportation and agriculture, Yang said.

He said China and Serbia agree to synergize their development strategies, deepen cooperation in transportation infrastructure and energy, and speed up the construction of the Serbian section of Hungary-Serbia railway.

Serbia stressed that it will continue to provide an open, fair and just business environment for Chinese enterprises in 5G and other fields, Yang said.

All the countries agree to further deepen dialogue and cooperation in a wide range of fields such as science and technology, education, culture, sports, tourism, media and think tanks, he said.

Third, Yang noted, China and the four countries have worked together to fight the pandemic and strengthened public health cooperation.

He said China stressed that it will continue cooperation with the four countries in epidemic prevention and control as well as medical and health, share experiences and diagnosis and treatment methods in combatting the pandemic and provide support for and assistance to the four countries and other countries in need.

The four countries spoke highly of China’s achievement in fighting the pandemic and progress in resumption of work and production, saying that they stand ready to further strengthen cooperation with China in joint prevention and control of the disease and vaccine and drug research and development to best contain the epidemic and consolidate the hard-won achievements, Yang said.

He said China and the four countries agree that there it is imperative to strengthen international cooperation in fighting the pandemic as the coronavirus is raging around the globe.

Countries should strengthen solidarity and work together in times of difficulty, he said, give full play to the key leadership role of the World Health Organization, oppose politicizing and stigmatizing the pandemic, to resolutely win the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and promote the building of a community of common health for mankind.

Fourth, he noted, China and the four countries have upheld multilateralism and jointly safeguarded world peace and development. No country can stay immune from various traditional and non-traditional security issues and development challenges, as humanity faces a shared future.

The international community should firmly uphold multilateralism, engage in extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and work together to safeguard universal security, he said.

All parties should step up communication and coordination on major international issues, oppose Cold War mentality and ideological confrontation, safeguard international rule of law, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind, Yang said.



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President leaves for Indonesia

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe left for Indonesia this morning (18) to attend the 10th World Water Forum high-level meeting in Bali.

The President is scheduled to address the forum on Monday (20).

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Bipartisan US Congress legislation calls for self-determination for Eelam Tamils

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Wiley

…proposes South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor, Bosnia, Eritrea, and Kosovo style solution

A controversial resolution has been introduced to the US Congress calling on the United States to work towards an independence referendum for Eelam Tamils and recognize the genocide committed against them by the Sri Lankan state.

The resolution, introduced by Wiley Nickel, is the first of its kind to be brought to the US Congress. It comes as Tamils marked the LTTE’s defeat 15 years ago, with May 18 commemorated as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, worldwide.

The resolution calls for the “no recurrence of past violence, including the ‘Tamil Genocide’, by supporting the right to self-determination of Eelam Tamil people and their call for an independence referendum for a lasting peaceful resolution”.

It goes on to detail historic Tamil support for independence and how “similar conflicts have successfully been democratically, peacefully, and legally resolved by exercising the right to self-determination by the people in countries such as South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor, Bosnia, Eritrea, and Kosovo via independence referendums with support from the United States and other countries”.

It resolves that the House of Representatives:

(1) urges the United States to strengthen diplomatic channels with the Eelam Tamils and collaborate toward peace and stability in the South Asian region of the Indo-Pacific;

(2) urges the United States and the international community to advocate for and protect the political rights of the Eelam Tamil people and work toward a permanent political solution based on their right to self-determination that is democratically and peacefully approved by them through a universally accepted process of independence referendum; and

(3) recognizes the genocide against the Eelam Tamil people by Sri Lanka.

The resolution has bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by Susan Wild, Danny K. Davis, Nicole Malliotakis, Mike Carey, Donald G. Davis, Summer L. Lee, and Jeff Jackson.

The full text of the resolution: “This conflict shattered families and communities, leaving deep scars that are still felt to this day,” said Nickel as he addressed the United States Congress today (May 15).

“My resolution recognizes the genocide in Sri Lanka and affirms the right of Tamils to self-determination through a democratic process.” Nickel stated that the resolution “emphasises the need for a peaceful and democratic solution to ongoing tensions in Sri Lanka”.

“It advocates an independence referendum, a process that has been used successfully to resolve similar conflicts in other parts of the world. This echoes our commitment to democratic principles and underscores our support for human rights globally.”

“The resolution is a significant step forward in our struggle for self-determination,” said an Eelam Tamil activist who worked closely with US representatives, from Washington DC. They were present alongside dozens of others, as Nickel spoke.

“This is the first time that support for an independent Tamil Eelam has been publicly and explicitly advocated for at the United States Congress. Fifteen years since the end of the Mullivaikkal genocide, our struggle is continuing and support for it has only grown. We are not a defeated people.”

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Refugee from Sri Lankan now Labour Party Mayor of UK town

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A smiling Labour Councillor Elango Elavalakan (left) at a ceremony where he was accepted as the Mayor of Ipswich Borough Council.

…worked in India, Uganda and Ruwanda before arriving in the UK

A Sri Lankan Tamil, who fled the country during the conflict, has been appointed the Mayor of Ipswich Borough Council.

According to the British media, Labour Councillor Elango Elavalakan is the first Hindu to hold that position. Members of Ipswich’s Hindu community attended Wednesday (15) evening’s ceremony, with celebrations at the nearby temple planned for later in the week.

Having fled Sri Lanka, Elavalakan lived and worked in India, Uganda and Rwanda before moving to the UK, the media reported. He initially moved to Ilford, in east London, before moving to Ipswich in 2006.

Labour Councillor Elango Elavalakan has taken over the ceremonial role after a unanimous vote at Ipswich Borough Council’s annual meeting.

“I’m so happy today, and very proud to be Mayor of this great town,” the media quoted Elavalakan as having said.

Council leader Neil MacDonald, who proposed the nomination, said Elavalakan would get to read out a general election result during his year in office.

“The announcement by a refugee who fled war and persecution, and who has made a new life and contributed to society here, will send a message,” MacDonald said.

Dr. Sachin Karale, Chair of Ipswich Hindu Samaj, said: “It shows the great diversity and multiculturalism of Ipswich town that a Hindu man is becoming Mayor. I’m really proud.”Elavalakan’s wife, Manchula Elavalakan, will be his consort.

The Mayor’s theme for the year will be “support and wellbeing” with his two chosen charities Genesis Orwell Mencap and Cancer Support Suffolk. ‘Ipswich is my home town’

“When I came for one project here, in Ipswich, I felt the people were very friendly,” he said. “So I decided, Ipswich is my home town.” He became a Labour councillor for St John’s ward in 2014.

“Having lived in many different countries and experienced many different lifestyles, I have always been interested in helping those that need it,” he said. “I am passionate about empowering communities and representing those in need.” Elavalakan is not the first Ipswich Mayor from the Indian sub-continent, however.

Kavas Jamas Bashah was born in Mumbai and was a senior officer of the Indian Civil Service.

He retired to Ipswich and became Mayor in 1925.

The town elected its first Mayor, Benjamin Brame, in 1836, following the Municipal Corporations Act the previous year which reformed local government and made Ipswich a municipal borough. Its first female mayor was Mary Whitmore, in 1946.

She was a suffragette and member of Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), and was made MBE in 1951 for her contribution to public services.

Albert Grant became Ipswich’s first black councillor and mayor of Ipswich in 1995.

He moved to the UK in 1955 at the age of 21 and has dedicated his life to tackling racism and fighting to secure equality and justice.

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