10th September 2000

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Political sisters see green and blue

Indrani and Champa Kalugalle grew up together, shared bed and board and their toys -but when it came to politics, one chose blue and the other green.Champa Kalugalle

Despite efforts to keep the family feud at a personal level, the animosity has already spilled over to their respective campaigns with their illustrious father P.B. G. Kalugalle's legacy being their main stake.

Mr. Kalugalle has held several Cabinet portfolios under SLFP led governments and has dominated the political landscape of Sabaragamuwa since 1956. Mr. Kalugalle retired from active politics with the dissolution of Parliament on August 18.

Posters of both Kalugalle girls have appeared on the walls of Kegalle with the inset picture of their father with pledges to carry his vision forward- in blue and green.

Indrani KalugalleIndrani, the PA candidate and minister Kalugalle's private secretary who was thrust into mainstream politics overnight with the retirement of her father, expressed her displeasure at her sister's sudden decision to join the UNP- and become a candidate.

" Champa has made a wrong move and my father is very angry about it," said Indrani .

She said a legal battle regarding the posters has been postponed due to time constraints. " I can sue Champa for using my father's photograph without his approval. The problem is that I hardly have time to campaign since I received nomination at the last minute," said Indira, a house wife who joined the fray in answer to a call of duty by the electorate.

Champa, a former PA Urban Councillor and a lawyer asserts her equal right to use her illustrious father's photograph in her posters as well. " He is my father too and I only use his photograph to give the message that I am his daughter."

Champa who has worked as the co-ordinating secretary to her father for 22 years decided to join the UNP after she was refused nomination by the PA though her lesser-known sister Indira was accepted as a candidate.

" My sister has no political experience. I am the more suitable candidate," she said, adding that her father had given her his blessings to enter Parliament.

However, Indira claims that Champa's sudden switch to the UNP has caused even ardent supporters to desert her.

Kadir delivers CBK's message to Millennium summit

Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, leading Sri Lanka's delegation to the historic United Nations Millennium Summit as Special Envoy of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, delivered her message to the Summit calling on the international community to preserve the fundamentals of the United Nations structure, emphasising that these fundamentals need to be protected and preserved for the future.

The Millennium Summit was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 6th to 8th September 2000. 147 Heads of State or Government and 32 other leaders, Royal personages, (Vice Presidents, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers) attended the Summit. Never before have so many world leaders gathered together in one place.

Sri Lanka's Special Envoy, articulating the hopes and wishes of President Kumaratunga on this important occasion said, "Peace amongst all states and peace amongst all peoples within states in order that all, and not only some, may in safety, without fear; in dignity, without humiliation; in good health; and, in material and spiritual well-being enjoy the wonders of life on this miracle we call planet Earth, such is my dream, such is my hope for the Millennium Summit."

Recalling the thoughts expressed by the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, her father and a former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the President quoted his words when he addressed the General Assembly 44 years ago: "The prevention of war is a necessary factor for peace, but peace is something much more than that. In its true sense it means human understanding, human friendship and cooperation out of which, indeed, peace in its true form alone can rise. The United Nations is the one machine available to mankind today, through which it can express this unconquerable spirit of man in its efforts to achieve that peace, friendship and collaboration." The President emphasized the principles of the United Nations' Charter which highlight the provisions relating to the "sovereign equality", "political independence" and "territorial integrity" of States.

With regard to the importance of the entity known as "the State", the President's message stated that, "States are the principal organizational entities into which the peoples of this planet have gathered, and the 'inter-State system' is the principal organizational edifice of the international community." She warned that "if States weaken, so will this organisation. If States are diminished so will this organisation be diminished. For the entity we know as the State, there is no substitute."

Focusing on the complexities of managing a State, the President observed that "States are corporate entities of enormous complexity differing entirely from corporate entities of the private sector that are usually of a single, limited purpose and often authoritarian in management."

In a ceremony at the United Nations on Friday 8 September, Minister Kadirgamar deposited, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, its instrument of ratification of the recently concluded International Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, signifying Sri Lanka's leading role in the fight against international terrorism: and the instrument of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict reflecting its firm commitment to the rights of children, and its serious concern with the issue of "child combatants". The Optional Protocol, among other provisions, stipulates the minimum age for engagement in combat as 18 years, which age Sri Lanka has always, from pre- independence, respected with utmost diligence in the recruitment policies of its armed forces and police.

Minister Kadirgamar also deposited the instrument of accession to the Convention against the Taking of Hostages. These treaty ceremonies were a significant side event during the Millennium Summit with many countries taking advantage of the presence of their leaders to engage in the process of signing, ratifying or acceding to international treaties. During his stay in New York, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, in his capacity as the Special Enjoy of President Kumaratunga to the Millennium Summit, conveyed the greetings of the President to several Heads of State and Government. He also had a series of wide ranging discussions and bilateral meetings with his counterparts.

Four round tables, each consisting of 40 States and chaired by Heads of State from different regions of the world, were held to enable leaders of delegations to interact informally and frankly. Minister Kadirgamar participated in a Round Table chaired by the President of Algeria and in the course of his intervention dwelt on the increasing threat to democracy from terrorism. Minister Kadirgamar proposed that the United Nations should be commissioned to undertake a study on the funding of terrorist organizations. This proposal was accepted by the group and placed before the General Assembly by the President of Algeria in his summation of the Round Tables discussion while affirming that democracy and terrorism cannot co-exist.

The Co-Presidents of the Summit were the President of Finland and the President of Namibia. At the conclusion of the proceedings the Millennium Summit Declaration setting out the vision of the United Nations for the 21st century was adopted by acclamation. Minister Kadirgamar was interviewed by Riz Khan on CNN and by the BBC World Service in addition to having meetings with the print media.

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