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56th anniversary of Sri Lanka-Russia diplomatic relations:

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 Sulochana Gamage

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 excellent.”

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 purposes too.

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.

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