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Power of friendship

Muscat: True friendship is a blessing for every human being and it is not an easy task to find it. It takes a long time to develop such a friendship, as we have to develop good qualities within ourselves to build confidence in others to make them our friends.

In contrast, being arrogant or having hostile attitude would bring negative impression and thereby it is very hard to find true friends among your peers. There might be some people around you pretending to be your friends, but they will turn away when you are in need.

Can we apply this common ideology to international affairs?
In diplomatic relations, friendly or neutral countries play important roles in settling disputes, making peace, or supporting economic development of other countries. Interestingly, a friendly country wields considerable influence and sometimes gets the recognition as a mediator to resolve disagreements or disputes between countries.

At present, there are numerous examples of countries that play mediatory roles in the international arena. Most importantly, a mediator needs to win the hearts and minds of other countries by building confidence among them. The case in point is Oman. The Sultanate of Oman is regarded as a trustworthy friend among other countries as it has been able to build-up confidence through its friendly and measured approach.

Sri Lanka's experience speaks adequately to underline the importance of true friends and friendships. During Sri Lanka's war against terrorism and after the victory, we have experienced the essence of true friendships and mutual understanding. In the past, since its inception, we had to go through several phases of negotiations as a means to resolve the issue that marred the country for over three decades.

All our efforts for peace overtures, supported by the international community, ended up with no results. The international community extended their fullest cooperation for negotiations with the expectation of bringing peace to the country. Since all those peace negotiations proved to be futile, the government had no option other than answering the terrorists with the language

they can understand.

Our friendly countries helped us to defeat terrorism and we always acknowledge and appreciate the support extended by the international community in this regard. There had been steadfast friends who supported us wholeheartedly to overcome that tragic menace. Development of the country after the victory is also another challenge that the government of Sri Lanka had to face.

In this context, we need to realise that defeating an evil and bringing prosperity to the country are equally important tasks for a democratic government. We cannot live in euphoria of victory continuously whilst ignoring the responsibility of fulfilling the aspirations of the people. We have to give priority to uplifting the livelihood of those who were victimised by the war.

If you are determined and committed to achieve the expected goals, you would be able to achieve it with the support of friendly countries. I trust friends in need are essential ingredients in any country's political and economic development. Sri Lanka considers Oman as one of our development partners whereas our economic cooperation could be strengthened through various fields including tourism, manpower, agriculture, education and construction.

It is our fervent expectation that the recent visit of H.E. Yusuf Bin Alawai bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs to Sri Lanka would pave the way for a stronger bond between the two countries. Asoka Girihagama is the ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman

Source: Times of Oman 17.11.2012