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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake Visits Ethiopia

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake undertook an official visit to Ethiopia from 13 to 17 September 2018.  Sri Lanka established formal diplomatic relations with Ethiopia in 1972, and the Sri Lankan resident Embassy in Addis Ababa was officially opened in February 2017, jointly by the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.

In honour of State Minister Senanayake, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Hirut Zemene hosted a breakfast meeting attended by senior officials of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The discussion centered on further consolidating bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and  Ethiopia and diversifying the areas of cooperation.  Exchange of business delegations between the two countries was also discussed and State Minister Senanayake extended an invitation to his Ethiopian counterpart  to lead a trade delegation to Sri Lanka.

State Minister Senanayake also  paid a courtesy call on Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome.

During the visit, State Minister Senanayake also visited the Headquarters of the African Union Commission and had a meeting with Dr. Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security and the Acting Chairperson of the African Union Commission. The discussion focused on promoting  relations between the African and Asian continents.  Sri Lanka obtained accreditation status of the African Union in April 2014 as a Non-African State and Sri Lanka’s first resident Ambassador in Addis Ababa presented his credentials to the African Union Commission in December 2016 as Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka.

Further, the State Minister had meetings with senior officials of the Ethiopian Investment Commission and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, and exchanged information on trade and investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia for promoting bilateral economic relations. State Minister Senanayake also visited the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa.

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union Commission Sumith Dassanayake accompanied the State Minister to the meetings.

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Addis Ababa

 

18 September 2018

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Minister Sagala Ratnayaka Undertakes Official Visit to the United States

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Minister of Youth Affairs, Project Management & Southern Development and Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister Sagala Ratnayaka undertook an official visit to Washington D.C. from September 12-13.

During the visit Minister Ratnayaka met with Chairman Mac Thornberry of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and Chairman Ted Yoho of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. The Minister also met with senior interlocutors of the National Security Council, the Department of State, the Department of Defence, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Minister Sagala Ratnayaka briefed them on current developments in Sri Lanka. They discussed the ongoing Sri Lanka–U.S. partnership and opportunities for further expanding bilateral cooperation within the framework of President Donald Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. In this context, he welcomed the recent announcement by the U.S. of approximately $39 million in Foreign Military Financing for Sri Lanka, pending congressional approval.

Minister Ratnayaka also expressed Sri Lanka’s deep appreciation to the U.S. for the transfer of the high-endurance ex-U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Sri Lanka Navy in August. The cutter will be the largest ship in the Sri Lankan naval fleet and will strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and enhance the capacity and the operational capability of the Sri Lankan Navy to more effectively secure the country’s maritime interests.

Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Sri Lanka Priyanga Wickramasinghe and senior officials of the Embassy were associated with Minister Ratnayaka in the bilateral discussions.

Later, Minister Ratnayaka visited California where he attended the 2018 International Democrat Union (IDU) Meeting from September 16-18 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Democrat Union is an IDU Vice Chairman (ex-officio) since 2005.

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

 

Washington D.C.

 

September 18, 2018

 

 

If we are to promote the Culture of Peace we must start with our youth and in our schools, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe tells the UN

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Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told the UN General Assembly on 05 September 2018 that Education is vital in promoting a culture of peace. The Minister was speaking at the High Level Forum for a Culture of Peace convened by the President of the General Assembly.

In his remarks Minister Rajapakshe congratulated the President of the General Assembly for convening the timely Forum noting that the present discussion will highlight the importance of full and effective implementation of the forward looking objectives States have collectively subscribed to through substantive General Assembly Resolutions for the past 20 years.

“Sri Lanka asserts and re-affirms its commitment to building a culture of peace, and recognizes the need for continuous support to further strengthen this global commitment,” the Minister said, flagging vital issues such as multilateralism, empowerment of women, national ownership, education, media and technological advances in fostering a culture of peace.

Dr. Rajapakshe also delivered the keynote address on 04 September at a Summit of Parliamentarians on the theme “The role of parliaments in promoting a culture of peace and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals” at the United Nations Head quarters organized by the Inter Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics and co-hosted by the Missions of Sri Lanka and Benin.

The Minister pointed out that when thinking about the role of parliaments in implementing the SDGs, we have to realize that there can be no development without peace and no peace without development. It is vital, he said, to understand the interlinkages between the seventeen SDGs and underpinning by Goal 16 on building peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. Similarly, the minister stressed, there can be no sustainable peace without the Rule of Law. In this regard the essence of Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote the Rule of Law is not only a self-evident objective but also catalytic to all the Goals, he added.

The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, in his welcome remarks at the Summit of Parliamentarians, noted that in Sri Lanka’s  own reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts and promoting a culture of peace, it has paid special emphasis on sensitizing the youth and children on the inherent values of a culture of peace, inculcating the value of empathy, inclusion, compassion and respecting the richness of diversity, which are critical ingredients of these efforts.  Education Sector reforms  with emphasis on a value based education is very much part of Sri Lanka’s ongoing reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts, the ambassador further said.

During his visit to New York Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe paid a courtesy call on the President of the General Assembly and also participated in a roundtable discussion on the Culture of Peace at the United Nations together with several parliamentarians from Benin, Madagascar, Nigeria, Spain and France among others.

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

New York

06 September 2018

 

 

State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe leads a Private Sector Delegation to Kenya

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State Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe,  led a delegation of private sector companies to Kenya together with the Export Development Board (EDB) on 05 September 2018.

The State Minister addressed the Sri Lanka –Kenya Business Forum organized by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Nairobi where the private sector companies had the opportunity to meet prospective buyers, wholesalers and Kenyan entrepreneurs to further their businesses. The Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industries(KNCCI) partnered    with the  High Commission  to brief  the  Sri Lanka  delegation on the  business environment  in Kenya and the opportunities available for Sri Lankan companies in the areas of  Fast Moving  Consumer  Goods (FMCGs) and on the Light Engineering Sector.

The State Minister emphasised on the strategic location of both countries and explained as to how  the two  countries  could mutually benefit  in doing  business.  He stated that  Kenya is the  gateway to East Africa  while  Sri Lanka  with its  growing  number of  free trade agreements  is the  gateway to Asia for Affrica.  Commenting that both  countries  are not  rivals   in business  but  countries   who  could grow together  complementing  and  learning from each other, the State Minister  said that this  is  only the  first  step  to many more visits  that  will strengthen  the relations  and  understanding  of the potential of growth of both countries. He thanked the  Chief  Executive Officer of the KNICC, Mr George  Kiondo  and his team for their efforts and  welcomed a buyer delegation  from Kenya  to Sri Lanka.

The State Minister also met Mr.Tobias Alando, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Manufactures Association(KMA). The Sri Lankan delegates   had fruitful B2B discussions  with Kenyan  businesses,  jointly  organised by  KMA and Mr Ruwan Fernando  of Mayleen  Group of Companies in Kenya.

State Minister Senasinghe also met with the Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH, Chief Administrative Secretary of Foreign Affairs to discuss  trade related outstanding issues.  Secretary Namwamba  assured that  Kenya  will be  hosting the 2nd Joint Trade Committee at the earliest. Appreciating  the assistance given by Kenya  in training long distance runners of Sri Lanka, the State Minister informed that Sri Lanka will assist Kenya in its efforts to improve  cricket.

The meetings were attended by High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Kenya Sunil de Silva, Chairperson of the Export Development Board Indira Malwatte, Deputy High Commissioner Anzul Jhan and Director Market Development of EDB Anoma Premathilake . The private sector delegation comprised of representatives from Hettigoda Industries Ltd, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd, Orient Lanka Confectionary Ltd, Synex Holdings  and Synex International Pvt Ltd,  St Theresa Industries (Kenya) Ltd. and Ceylon Agro-Industries Limited.

 

High Commission of Sri Lanka

Nairobi

06 September 2018

 

 

IORA Member States finalise Terms of Reference (ToR) for the setting up of the Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security in Sri Lanka

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The Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) met in Colombo on 4-5 September, 2018 and finalized the Terms of Reference (ToR) at an initial workshop held for the setting up of the Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security. At the 17th Council of Ministers held in Durban, South Africa in 2017, it was decided that Sri Lanka will coordinate the implementation of the IORA Action Plan 2017-2021 on Maritime Safety and Security that includes, amongst others, the establishment of the Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security.

The finalization of the ToR at the workshop marks an important milestone in the work of the IORA Maritime Safety and Security priority area. The Working Group provides a mechanism for engaging maritime officials and experts across Member States to promote regional cooperation by facilitating practical coordination amongst stakeholders.

The ToR outlines the objectives of the Working Group on taking forward the policy priorities set in the Maritime Safety and Security Area which include among others establishing a common understanding between IORA Members States of the collective Maritime Safety and Security risks, threats and opportunities in the Indian Ocean region; establishing an integrated policy approach on Maritime Safety and Security including through capability enhancement and capacity building; building a partnership within the framework of IORA for the strengthening of capacity and capability as well as institution building in the domain of Maritime Safety and Security; and enhancing Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) among IORA Member States.

The initial workshop was co-hosted by Sri Lanka and Australia, and was co-chaired by Sri Lanka,  Australia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar and South Africa.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

07 September 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

Sri Lanka and Russia sign Agreement on Military Technical Cooperation and Working Group Terms of Reference document

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A four-member defence delegation headed by Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Defence visited Russia from 31 August-04 September 2018.

During the visit, the delegation attended the signing ceremonies of Working Group Terms of Reference document between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation (FSMTC) and the Agreement on Military Technical Cooperation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Russian Federation on 03 September 2018 at the FSMTC and the Ministry of Defence of Russia respectively.

Both agreements were signed by Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Defence from Sri Lanka side while Mr. Mihail Petukhov, Deputy Director of FSMTC signed the Working Group Terms of Reference document and Colonel General Alexander Fomin, Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation signed the Agreement on Military Technical Cooperation from the Russian side.

Both signing ceremonies were also witnessed by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation and other officials from the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation.

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Russian Federation

04 September 2018

   

Sri Lanka pledges to support the implementation of the Lumbini Master Plan

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President Maithripala Sirisena concluded a two- day bilateral visit to Nepal on Sunday (02 September 2018), announcing Sri Lanka’s readiness to support the implementation of the Lumbini Master Plan, which would ensure the conservation of the historic site and enhance the facilities for pilgrims. The President was in Nepal to attend the 4th BIMSTEC Summit held on 30-31 August 2018.

He made this announcement during bilateral talks with Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, which was followed by an official banquet in honour of President Sirisena at Shital Nivas on Saturday, 01 September. Earlier in the day, the President and the delegation visited the sacred site in Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Over 50,000 Sri Lankans pay homage in Lumbini annually.

At their meeting, the two leaders reviewed with satisfaction the bilateral exchanges that have taken place over the past few years. The Nepali President expressed appreciation to Sri Lanka for being a true friend and assisting in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake that devastated the country, particularly in the reconstruction efforts at the Anand Kutir Temple and the Rato Machindranath Temple in Kathmandu. The leaders also discussed the possibility of marketing a ‘Buddhist Circuit’ as an initiative to boost tourism between the countries, and from outside the region.

President Sirisena congratulated the Government of Nepal on the successful conclusion of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit and as the BIMSTEC’s new Chair, sought the cooperation of Nepal in operationalising the ambitious Kathmandu Declaration.

During his meeting with the Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli, the President emphasized the importance of strengthening economic relations between the two countries, and the Nepali Prime Minister said that the Sri Lanka-Nepal Joint Commission will be held early to carry forward the ideas discussed.

On Friday, 31 August, President Sirisena also inaugurated a ‘Trade, Tourism and Investment Dialogue’ organised by the Institute for Strategic and Socio-Economic Research of Nepal. Addressing the gathering, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake requested that Sri Lankan companies in construction, education, IT, healthcare, apparel and hospitality be facilitated to invest in Nepal.

During the visit, two Memoranda of Understanding were exchanged between the two governments, the first between the Institute of Foreign Affairs of Nepal and the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute of Sri Lanka, and the second on Cooperation for Youth Development.

President Maithripala Sirisena also visited the Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) headquartered in Kathmandu. He was received by the Secretary General of SAARC Amjad Hussain B. Sial and the Directors of SAARC. To mark his first visit to the SAARC Secretariat, the President planted a tree sapling in the premises. Addressing the officials at the SAARC Secretariat, President Sirisena said that Sri Lanka strongly supports the SAARC process as one of its founding members, and that his visit was intended to encourage the Secretary General and staff of the Secretariat for the important work they were doing.

He also visited the Anand Kutir Vihara and received a briefing on the progress of re-construction of the Vihara and also of the Rato Machindranath Temple. The President and his delegation also visited the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu and received blessings.

  

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

3 September 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

   

BIMSTEC Leaders decide to rationalize the Organization as Sri Lanka assumes Chairmanship

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Sri Lanka was handed over the Chairmanship of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), at the conclusion of the 4th  BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu, on 31 August 2018 .

Accepting the Chairmanship of BIMSTEC from the Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli, President Maithripala Sirisena, thanked all Member States for the trust and confidence placed in Sri Lanka, and said that Sri Lanka looks forward to implementing the ambitious agenda set forth by the Kathmandu Summit. Congratulating the new Chairman, all BIMSTEC leaders expressed confidence that the Organization will move forward with strength under the leadership of President Sirisena. Accordingly, the 5th BIMSTEC Summit will be held in Sri Lanka.

Earlier on 31 August, adopting the Kathmandu Summit Declaration, ‘Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region’, the Presidents of Sri Lanka and Myanmar, the Prime Ministers of India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand, and the Chief Advisor of the Government of Bhutan agreed to review, restructure and rationalize the existing areas of cooperation of BIMSTEC and to streamline the operational modalities for activities, programmes and projects to achieve tangible results. The Declaration also welcomed Sri Lanka as the new Chair of BIMSTEC.

The Summit also laid the foundation for institutional mechanisms to accelerate the BIMSTEC process. The leaders agreed to establish a BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee (BPWC), to draft a Charter for the organization, to develop Rules of Procedures for BIMSTEC Mechanisms and Centres and to explore the possibility of establishing a BIMSTEC Development Fund.

The Memorandum of Understanding on BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection was signed by State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake on behalf of Sri Lanka, alongside Foreign Ministers and State Ministers of BIMSTEC countries at a signing ceremony witnessed by the leaders.

The Summit Declaration also expressed appreciation to Ambassador Sumith Nakandala of Sri Lanka, the first Secretary-General of BIMSTEC for his valuable contribution in advancing the work of the organization during his tenure.

The Sri Lanka Delegation to the 4th BIMSTEC Summit included State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Nepal Swarna Perera, the Foreign Ministry’s Acting Additional Secretary/Economic Affairs and Trade Ravinatha Aryasinha, and Director General Economic Affairs Saroja Sirisena.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

02 September 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

   

Strengthening Sri Lanka - Japan relations with the visit of the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Kazuyuki Nakane

State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Kazuyuki Nakane visited Sri Lanka from 28 -30 August 2018. State Minister Nakane participated in the commissioning ceremony of the two coast guard patrol vessels donated by Japan to Sri Lanka at the Port of Colombo on 29 August.

During the visit, State Minister Nakane called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Lakshman Kiriella, and also met with Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayke and the Secretary to the President Udaya R. Seneviratne.

The two coast guard patrol vessels, "SLCGS Samudra  Raksha"  and "SLCGS Samaraksha" were donated to Sri Lanka by Japan as part of the Grant Agreement signed between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of Sri Lanka, based on the joint declaration on the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.  These patrol vessels will add to the capacity of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard in its activities related to maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, Search and Rescue (SAR), mitigation of disaster risks, and environment protection.

The State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan briefed the Prime Minister and the Acting Foreign Minister on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Partnerships Initiative of the G-7, where each G-7 Member State selects a partner country to provide targeted assistance to advance the Women, Peace and Security Agenda through enhanced G-7 coordination, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.  Japan has selected Sri Lanka as its partner country under this initiative to support Sri Lanka's WPS Agenda. The initiative is based on the recognition that gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and respect for their human rights are vital to achieving and sustaining peace. Sri Lanka's appreciation for Japan's assistance under this programme was conveyed to State Minister Nakane.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

30 August 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

   

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