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European Parliament endorsing GSP+ to Sri Lanka is a vote of confidence

The government says European Parliament endorsing to grant the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus with a huge majority on Thursday was a vote of confidence for the country from the international community.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva, who was in Brussels to garner the support of European Parliament members during the vote said Sri Lanka winning the vote 436 to 119 in the 751-member parliament is a huge vote of confidence for the country from the international community and a fulfilling an important election promise domestically.

The Deputy Minister in a Facebook post said while it is a reward for the government it is also a responsibility to deliver on the promises made to further improve Sri Lanka’s record on human rights and the rule of law.

Dr. de Silva said the cabinet approval for the new counter terrorism legislation helped to thwart the last minute attempt to block the country from getting the concession, but the more up to date piece of legislation has the right balance between internationally defined terrorism and the protection of rights of individuals.

“Overall our promise to the people has always been stronger democracy, better governance, better rule of law and better protection of individual rights. So it is indeed good to be able to get this concession for all the good work of the government since January 2015,” the Deputy Minister said.

The Deputy Minister commended the determined action of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for working towards this achievement and appreciated the efforts by all other parties including the Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Foreign Ministry staff and the envoys, who worked tirelessly.

According to the Minister, the process now goes to the last leg for ratification at the EU Council of Ministers and it is expected to happen before 15 May. Soon thereafter it will be notified and become law.

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