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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thai-Lanka talks focus on International Buddhist Zone concept - Dailynews

span style="font-weight:bold;">Thai-Lanka talks focus on International Buddhist Zone concept

COLOMBO: Minister Khun Ying Dhipavadee Meksawan, attached to the Prime Minister's Office and the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Thailand yesterday called on Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama at the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs.

The Special Envoy was accompanied by the Advisor and Senior Officials of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Director of Buddhist Information Division and Officials of he Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.

The Special Envoy and Minister Bogollagama discussed issues ranging from bilateral relations, dynamics of terrorism, economic, trade and religious co-operation to agriculture among others. Minister Bogollagama explained the courses of action the Government is taking in dealing with terrorism in the country and stressed the two pronged approach of the Government.

The two pronged approach is to weaken the LTTE and to explore a viable political settlement. He also explained the role of the APRC in exploring a political settlement to the Special Envoy. Minister Bogollagama further emphasized the heinous crimes and political assassinations committed by the LTTE, in Sri Lanka as well as in foreign lands.

The Special Envoy too elaborated the menace of terrorism in Thailand. Minister Bogollagama did state that the intelligence sharing and extradition aspects between the two countries were of marked importance to address the issue of terrorism, in both the countries.

The Special Envoy commented that since the two countries are Buddhist in nature, they could have a common denominator to strengthen the religious relations and co-operation. Given this premise, the Minister of Foreign affairs stated that a concept of an International Buddhist Zone has been formulated in the country.

The 14 Buddhist countries, based on this concept, could have their own temples and exercise their beliefs and have their own clergy. This proposition would extend greater exposure and interaction between and among the Buddhist countries of the International Buddhist Zone, in particular.

The reception of the Special Envoy was very positive and the Thai delegation agreed to visit the potential site on August 29, in Piliyandala.

Minister Bogollagama greatly appreciated the visit of the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Thailand to Sri Lanka. In 2005, the Special Envoy visited Sri Lanka and handed over the Thai Version of the Thripitaka to the then Minister of Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka.

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