May 21

Mr A. Denis N. Fernando has, in a recent newspaper article, made an appeal to the authorities to take urgent action to carry out surveys of the Continental Shelf outside Sri Lankas 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, particularly over the area south of the Equator, so that Sri Lanka, under the UN Law of the Sea, may claim its rights to the mineral and other resources in this vast expanse of sea, the extent of which is many times the area of Sri Lanka. He states that what needs to be ascertained first are the boundaries of the area where the depth of sedimentation exceeds 1000m and that this has to be done by the 2009 deadline. He mentions Mr Dulip Jayawardene, Professor C.B.Dissanayaka, Dr Hiran Jayawardene and the members of the Sri Lankan team that was instrumental in helping formulate the UN Law of the Sea as persons who possess the specialist knowledge required and whose services the government should secure for this purpose.

Should the authorities fail to take timely action in this connection, it would represent irresponsibility of the highest order and a total lack of accountability. We, therefore, call upon President Rajapakse to order that all necessary steps are taken immediately to safeguard the enormous wealth in this spread of ocean for the welfare of Sri Lanka for generations to come.

If, in fact, action has already been initiated, it would reassure the citizens of the country to know something of the progress that has been made so far.


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