|SPEECH BY HON. LAL D GAMAGE,
MINISTER ASSISTING FOREIGN AFFAIRS AT THE INTERNATIONAL DONOR CONFERENCE
THE RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ - MADRID - 24th OCTOBER 2003
Sri Lanka greatly appreciates the most timely initiative taken
by the Government of Spain, on behalf of the European Union, Japan,
the United Arab Emirates and the United State of America and in
association with the UNDP, the World Bank and the IMF, to convene
and host this International Donor Conference for the Reconstruction
of Iraq. My delegation also wishes to express its gratitude to
the Conference organizers for the excellent arrangements made
Mr. President, people of my country have undergone the ravages
and sufferings of war for many years. That experience has enabled
us to feel the pain and torment of the people of Iraq and share
their aspirations to rebuild with dignity a free, democratic and
It was only several months ago Mr. President that the international
community came forward in strength in Tokyo to support Sri Lanka's
on-going peace process. Led by Japan, the support they offered
us, besides materially helping Sri Lanka to rebuild and reconstruct
the country, was also instrumental in giving us further resolve
and conviction to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation.
Hence we applaud the Government of Spain for taking this initiative
to demonstrate the resolve of the international community by assisting
reconstruction efforts of Iraq.
In the circumstances, our participation at this International
Donor Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, should be seen
as a symbolic demonstration of our solidarity with and empathy
towards the people of Iraq, who have suffered for a long time
and should be assisted as they begin to reconstruct their country
and rebuild their society.
Mr. President, as a token of our support for the people of Iraq,
Sri Lanka is pleased to pledge 100 metric tons of tea and 100,000
pieces of apparel to the people of Iraq. Our pledge amounts to
an approximate FOB value of US Dollars 900,000. In addition, Mr.
President my Government will of course bear the freight and other
related charges for the transport of these pledged items to their
destination in Iraq.
I wish to conclude my brief intervention expressing the confidence
of Sri Lanka that the International Donor community would be generous
in their pledges at this Conference and remain engaged in the
reconstruction process of Iraq.