The Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Stef Block said that Sri Lanka’s ability to uphold free and fair election amidst various challenges has been commended by the number of democratic countries in the world.
The visiting Foreign Minister made these comments when he called on President MaithripalaSirisena at the Official Residence of the President today (19).
The President and the Foreign Minister discussed about bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands as well as regional affairs at length.
President informed the Foreign Minister that his stand would be apolitical during upcoming Presidential election and he can assure that the polls would be conducted in a more peaceful and democratic manner without malpractices.
Since the Police and the Armed Forces come under the purview of the him instructions have been given to these entities to protect and preserve the law and order in the country during election times, President added.
While commending the continued assistance by the Netherlands towards Sri Lanka especially in the fields of road development, water purification schemes and construction of bridges in rural areas, the President thanked the visiting dignitary for funding a number of development projects in Polonnaruwa recently.
The possibility of further obtaining the Netherland’s assistance to develop liquid milk sector in Sri Lanka was also discussed.
The Netherlands Foreign Minister expressed his condolences over the terrorists attacks that took place on Easter Sunday and highlighted the importance of strengthening the international cooperation in combating terrorism.
The Head of the South Asia Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Ambassador in Sri Lanka TanjaGonggrijp, the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs RavinathaAriyasinghe and Additional Secretary to the President EsalaWeerakoon were also present on the occasion.