56th anniversary of Sri Lanka-Russia diplomatic
Human rights should not be made a political tool- Russian Ambassador
Ambassador Alexander Karchava
Russia made no bones about its continued backing for Sri Lanka in
Geneva when its Ambassador in Colombo at a recent ceremony announced
that his country will in 'every possible and accessible ways and means'
do what is necessary to garner support for the country to fight being
unfairly treated at the UN Human Rights Council session.
At a colourful event organised to celebrate the 56th anniversary of
Sri Lanka-Russia diplomatic relations, Ambassador Alexander Karchava
emphasised that they supported Sri Lanka on the principle that assessing
human rights should not be selective or subjective.
He said ”I am personally in touch with my colleague, the Russian
permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “My
mission is to monitor the situation closely and try to secure support
for your country in Geneva.”
He was responding to a query by the Sunday Observer as to what would
be Russia's stance in the event of a negative resolution being moved
against Sri Lanka at the 22nd regular sessions of the UN Human Rights
Council in Geneva.
Editor of the magazine Rusiyava (Russia) Sarath Lal presents its
25th issue to Ambassador Alexander Karchava to mark the
magazine's 7th anniversary. General Secretary of Sri Lanka –
Russia Friendship Society Dr.Saman Weerasinghe, CEO Russian
Centre Buddhapriya Ramanayake, Minister Susil Premajayantha and
Director Russian Centre Andrey M. Nazarkin look on. Pix
The Ambassador said Russia, China and Cuba will not have voting
rights this time since their rotating membership has expired this year,
but nevertheless, it would do what is needed to convince the other
sitting members on the progress Sri Lanka has made in furthering its
commitment and pledges made to the Council in March 2012.
“This year's session won't be too easy for Sri Lanka, and it is a
reality we have to face. But of course Russia supports Sri Lanka in
every possible and accessible ways and means and we are in close contact
with other countries who are members this year,” he added.
Referring to a meeting the External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L.
Peiris had with the diplomatic community recently he said, “the main
topic was what has been done in the recent year, in the area of post
conflict reconciliation in the country.
Sri Lanka intended to show and convince the diplomatic corp here,
that they managed to do a lot.”
“It is really so and we know that. We are convinced and we are
telling it to the others,” he said.
The Colombo based diplomatic community was briefed by Minister Prof.
Peiris recently to update them on the progress achieved on the fields of
economic and infrastructure development, reconciliation and
resettlement, especially in the North and the East, during the 12 months
since the last HRC sessions up to February this year.
Ambassador Karchava said since the establishment of diplomatic
relations between the USSR and Sri Lanka 56 years ago, the countries
continued to take bi-lateral ties to new heights with each passing year
and they remain intense to date.
“In the political sphere the bilateral relations, can be defined as
He said Russia, from the very beginning expressed understanding of
the Sri Lanka government's struggle against terrorism and supported
Colombo in all international fora. “We have appreciated the efforts of
the Government to solve the post conflict problems of the masses, the
state integrity, multinational consent and respect for all communities
and religions in the country.”
One of the colourful dance items by the famous Lykke dance
troupe from Moscow.
He said the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov worked in Sri
Lanka as a junior officer from 1972-1976. As he has often said, “Human
Rights should not be used as a political tool,” he said emphasising that
assessing human rights situations should not be selective or subjective.
He said consultations were on to enhance cooperation in the field of
nuclear expertise training. The first batch of four Russian helicopters
under a US $ 300 Russian credit line are to be delivered to Sri Lanka
within this year. A total of 14 helicopters will be granted to Sri Lanka
under the loan scheme to purchase military hardware and equipment. “We
hope they will help your country protect itself. They are not just for
military purposes but could be used for building construction and other
Speaking on the cooperation in the Education sphere he said it was an
area where Sri Lanka-Russia ties are 'really very strong'. “On coming
here I met many former graduates from my country, from different
universities. They have reached higher positions in society and the
business community in Sri Lanka.”
As for joint projects, the most recent example is the South Asian
Institute for Technology and Medicine in Malabe (SAITM). Well known
Russian teachers, professors and doctors from Russia are successfully
teaching at SAITM.
The second phase of the project will be building a teaching hospital
for the Institute. It would prove that Russia generously shares its
experience and expertise in new technological methods, especially in the
field of Medicine with the Sri Lankan youth.
Intensifying educational calibrations, the scholarships granted to
Sri Lankan students increased to 35 last year. For the fist time five
scholarships were provided by Sri Lanka to Russian citizens. Russia is
the biggest importer of Ceylon tea and the number of Russian tourists
increased by 30 per cent in 2012 as against 2011.
The Ambassador commended the Russian Cultural Centre for the
opportunities offered to Sri Lankan students to study Ballet, Chess, Art
and Music. It also offers courses in the Russian language and annual
certificates to 120 citizens. Concluding his remarks the Ambassador said
there were bright prospects for more fruitful relations between Russia
and Sri Lanka in the future.