Foreign Minister of Canada Stephane Dion said that Canada would provide every possible assistance to the steps taken by the government of President Maithripala Sirisena to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, reconciliation and economic development.

President Sirisena briefed him of the steps taken in the past 18 months such as adoption of the 19th Amendment, establishment of the Constitutional Council to appoint members of independent commissions, settlement of the displaced persons and institution of a committee to look into the issues pertaining to missing persons.

Minister Dion, who called on President Sirisena at the official residence in Colombo yesterday (July 28) conveyed the greetings of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The President recalled his several meetings with the Canadian Prime Minister at various international forums, thanks him for the continuous assistance for Sri Lanka’s development activities. He expressed his gratitude to Canada for extending support to Sri Lanka at the international forums.

President Sirisena, explaining the reconciliation process said that it is essential to strengthen the coexistence between the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people through mutual respect for each others’ cultures. “Culture is stronger than law,” he said and pointed out that proper understanding about each others’ culture would provide a strong foundation for reconciliation.

“You are a man of wisdom, Your Excellency,” Foreign Minister Dion replied and added that Canada would be solidly behind Sri Lanka in this process.

Responding to President Sirisena’s request for development assistance, the Foreign Minister announced that Canada would provide assistance to a new banking system though the Sanasa Development Bank to assist entrepreneurs. Canada will also support solar power projects in Sri Lanka and several other development activities, he said.

Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara, Canadian High Commissioner Shelly Whiting and Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Canada, A A Jawad were also present on this occasion.