Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollogama yesterday told the Daily News that Sri Lanka should re-examine its diplomatic relations with Qatar after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen cut ties with the country over its alleged backing of militant groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda.
“We should not automatically cut ties with any friendly country if other countries do, but we should examine the reasons these five countries are severing ties with Qatar.”
“If the government finds that the reasons for cutting ties are valid, and if it believes that this action will counter terrorism, then it is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to take up a position against the spread of terrorism in the international arena,” Bogollogama said.
He added that any decision should be made objectively by analyzing the facts of the situation. Furthermore, he argued that, since Sri Lanka has so much experience fighting terrorism, it has a moral duty to fight the scourge throughout the world.
“When I was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka was one of the key countries battling terrorism. We dealt with terrorism for 30 long years, so we should highlight our stance that terrorism must be destroyed,” he said.
The former Minister also touched on the importance of Sri Lanka’s involvement in world affairs, as he noted that, if it is warranted, such an action would demonstrate to the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, and Canada that the island is serious about countering the threat of international terrorism.
“There’s no other upcoming opportunity for Sri Lanka to play a role in global affairs. If Sri Lanka does not take a position on these issues, it will never have an opportunity to take positions on a lot of other issues as well,” he said.