October 31, 2016 Reading Time: 2 minutes
Reading Time: 2 min read
EU delegation to visit Sri Lanka for GSP+ follow up
The EU has stated that a four-member delegation from the European Parliament will arrive in Sri Lanka today to follow up on steps required to reinstate Sri Lanka’s status under the EU Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+).
The delegation will focus on the country’s progress on reconciliation and the measures adopted to support women politically and economically. The EU representatives will also travel to Colombo, Batticaloa and Trincomalee to meet with officials, and representatives from the local government and civil society.
India and Sri Lanka to hold ministerial talks on fisheries dispute
India and Sri Lanka plan to conduct ministerial talks on 5 November, in New Delhi, to address the fisheries dispute between the two countries. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Mahinda Amaraweera, are to meet the Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj.
A delegation representing the Sri Lankan Fishermen’s Association will also meet with its counterpart from Tamil Nadu to discuss poaching in the Palk Strait.
Stake in Hambantota Port to be sold to Chinese firm
The Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, has confirmed that Sri Lanka will sell 80% of the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota to a Chinese firm, which will reduce Sri Lanka’s USD 8 billion debt to China by USD 1.1 billion.
He added that the deal is expected to be signed in the second week of November. China’s interest in the Hambantota Port stems from its Maritime Silk Route initiative.
Russia voted out of UN human rights body
Russia will not continue as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Its bid for another three-year term received 112 votes in a secret ballot at the UN General Assembly, fewer than Hungary’s 144 votes, and Croatia’s 114 votes.
The vote followed lobbying against Russia’s candidacy by human rights groups, over Russian involvement in the conflict in Syria. Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, stated that Moscow faced stiff competition, and expressed confidence that it would be elected as a member of the UNHRC at the next election.
World Bank appoints new CEO
World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, has appointed Kristalina Georgieva to be the next Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank. She is expected to assume duties in January 2017.
Dr. Georgieva is a former head of EU humanitarian affairs and vice-president of the European Commission. She also recently contested the position of UN Secretary-General. She will report to Dr. Kim, who was recently re-appointed President of the World Bank Group.
Lebanon to elect a new president
Lebanon’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Future Movement, Saad Al-Hariri, has backed former General Michel Aoun to be the president of Lebanon. The move is aimed at restoring leadership to Lebanon following a two and half year presidential vacuum.
Mr. Saad al-Hariri stated that the decision to support his former political opponent, ‘comes from the need to protect Lebanon and the state and the people’. Parliament is expected to convene today to elect the new president.