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SL seeks counter-terrorism as NAM's top agenda

With LTTE on the verge of total defeat, Sri Lanka has demanded that ways to counter terrorism be highlighted in the agenda of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

world Updated: May 02, 2009 17:26 IST

With LTTE on the verge of total defeat, Sri Lanka has demanded that ways to counter terrorism be highlighted in the agenda of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Addressing a ministerial meeting of the NAM nations in Havana, Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A Bhaila sought greater international cooperation in combating terrorism.

He lavished praises on the security forces for their "successful" humanitarian operations, which "helped rescue more than 150,000 civilians from the LTTE-held areas in the last ten days".

Bhaila said the "impressive advances" made by the Lankan government in the North under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa heralded the end of the road for terrorism and violence in the country.

Emphasizing that "counter-terrorism" should be kept on the top of NAM's agenda, he maintained that "no entity postulating or practising terrorism should be allowed to claim to represent any community, ethnic or religious interests."

"Each sovereign state has an inalienable right to protect its territorial integrity and maintain peace and security and the rule of law within its borders," the minister told the meeting on Thursday.

The Sri Lankan Minister also identified the current financial crisis as the leading cause for the decline in growth levels among developing countries.

He said NAM could play a major role in taking initiatives on behalf of the member countries to address this situation.

"Exacerbated by the ongoing financial crisis, numerous challenges including lack of food security and threats to energy security, have the potential to roll back national economic and development gains, so painfully realized by developing countries over the decades," he said.

Bhaila led the Sri Lanka delegation to the two-day NAM ministerial conference, which ended in the Cuban capital on Thursday.

This preparatory meeting to the forthcoming 15th NAM Summit in Egypt in July 2009 adopted the final document and communique on the situation in the Middle East.

The meeting was attended by foreign ministers and high level representatives of more than 125 member states and observer countries.