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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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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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