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The GSP plus tax concession lost by Sri Lanka during the Rajapaksa regime will be restored shortly through a special gazette notification issued in Brussels on May 15, said Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera at a meeting held in Matara on May 7. The meeting was held to thank UNP members and supporters who attended the party’s May Day rally at Campbell Park.

Minister Samaraweera said the ban imposed on Sri Lanka’s fish exports to the European Union was also lifted sometime ago after the government assumed power. Now the export market had been opened for the fishing community.

Samaraweera said they were quite aware that party supporters were somewhat disgruntled over the government’s failure to deliver during the past two years. The government was in the process of regaining the lost rights and benefits to the country from the outside world.

Party supporters encountered problems as regards employment and job transfers etc. The government hoped to look into them and grant relief soon.

The minister said a large number of party supporters attended the May Day rally held in Colombo. He was unable to attend the rally due to health reasons because he was after surgery.

He said the SLFP rally presided by President Maithripala Sirisena too attracted a massive crowd. If the two parties forming the National Government joined hands and held a single rally they could have mustered crowds almost five times bigger than the Galle Face crowd.

However, they did not have such a low mentality to display crowd attendance. What matters most was winning elections.

Minister Samaraweera said they were prepared to allow Mahinda Rajapaksa to fill Galle Face until 2025. However, they were not even allocated Hyde Park for a meeting during the Rajapaksa regime, Samaraweera said. The Foreign Affairs Ministry under his purview had provided all facilities to Mahinda Rajapaksa to travel abroad without restriction.

A group of conspirators were unnecessarily dragging the SAITM issue to spite the government. The doctors’ strikes would not succeed in toppling the government since no room would be given to such sinister attempts.

Samaraweera said that even though he did not wish to comment on SAITM he wished to categorically state that private universities were needed in the country as only about 25,000 students among those who qualified for university education managed to enter State universities while a vast majority was shut out.

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