Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma was welcomed to Sweden by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt during a meeting at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 3rd April.
The Ambassador and the Foreign Minister had the opportunity to casually discuss developments in the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka as well as the LLRC final report (Read more). The Foreign Minister urged Sri Lanka to speed up the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, but the Ambassador explained that Sri Lanka needs more time and that the world community must show patience.
The Ambassador illustrated his point by sharing that the distance from Colombo to his hometown of Matara is 160 kilometres. It takes more than four hours to travel this road by car. Meanwhile, the same distance in Sweden can easily be covered in less than half the time. Infrastructure, attitudes and systems vary between countries and people. In the same way, perceptions of peace and reconciliation efforts vary and Western leaders must trust that Sri Lanka knows its people, their history and the distance of the road ahead.
The Ambassador invited the Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka to meet the people and see the current developments for himself and Mr. Bildt was glad to accept the invitation. At a time when an impressive amount of Swedish tourists visit Sri Lanka and cultural understanding grows out of personal meetings, there is a sincere hope that the same thing will occur at a political level.