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High Commissioner Asoka Girihagama calls on Yasmin Ratansi, MP, Chair of the Canada - Sri Lanka Friendship Group

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Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, Asoka Girihagama met Hon. Yasmin Ratansi, MP, senior member of the Federal Parliament from the ruling Liberal Party and the Chair of the Canada -Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, on 12th December 2018.

During the meeting, High Commissioner Girihagama briefed Hon. Ratansi on the current political situation in Sri Lanka, bilateral relations between Sri Lanka - Canada, reconciliation and democracy.

The High Commissioner also discussed the need to further enhance the promotion of trade and investment between Sri Lanka and Canada and referred to Hon. Ratansi’s visit to  Sri Lanka in March 2017, when she led the Canada – Sri Lanka Business Convection 2017 delegation with 21 business leaders and two Canadian Members of Parliament. MP Ratansi visited Sri Lanka again when she led a delegation of Canadian Parliamentarians to Sri Lanka as the Chair of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in November 2017.

 

Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa

12th December 2018

 

 

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, Asoka Girihagama calls on Hon. Dr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister/Asia Pacific of Canada.

 

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Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, Asoka Girihagama called on Hon. Dr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister/Asia Pacific of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development (DFATD) of Canada, on 6th December 2018.

During the call, the High Commissioner and the Assistant Deputy Minister discussed wide ranging issues, including issues of bilateral importance, economic cooperation, tourism and development assistance, between the two countries.

The meeting was the first official interaction High Commissioner Girihagama had with Assistant Deputy Minister Dr. Bobiash, following his presentation of credential to Governor General Julie Payette of Canada at a ceremony held at the Rideau Hall in Ottawa on 13th November 2018.

 

 Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa

6th December 2018

 

 

Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Canada visits Toronto for SLUNA Event

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It was a pleasure meeting the new High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Canada, H.E. Asoka Girihagama this evening. He was the Chief Guest at the Annual General Meeting of the 35-year old Sri Lanka United National Association or SLUNA as it is popularly known throughout the world. SLUNA prides itself as the second oldest Sri Lankan socio-cultural organization formed in Canada. Its roots go back to 1983 following the ethnic unrest in Sri Lanka. A lot of progressive work has been undertaken by SLUNA since 1983 and stands today as a formidable organization by Sri Lankans for Sri Lanka.

The oldest Sri Lankan socio-cultural organization in Canada is the Canada-Sri Lanka Association (CSLA) that was formed in 1968.

The AGM was held in Toronto on Saturday, November 24th attended by a large coterie of members. Prathap Perera was his dynamic self as Master of Ceremonies. By unanimous assent, the same board of management were re-elected to office. Sarath Lokuliyana was ushered in for a second term as president of SLUNA while Keerthi Perera regained his position as General Secretary. The only change to the management structure was the election of Prathap Perera as Executive Vice President of SLUNA. Status-quo was restored with the rest of the Board of Management officers. A few community leaders were invited for the event as special guests and participated in the lighting of the traditional oil lamp. It was also an opportunity for them to meet and greet the new High Commissioner.

Read more: Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Canada visits Toronto for SLUNA Event

 

Enhancing Palliative Care Facilities in Sri Lanka Emphasized in Toronto

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Members of the  Sri Lankan expatriate community in Toronto were briefed recently on a project to establish the world’s first ever eco-friendly palliative care hospital in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by an Australia based charity organization, Shanthi Foundation. The hospital which will be equipped with an in-patient unit with 40 beds for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and cancer patients, as well as a clinic for such outpatients.

Founder and Chairman of the Shanthi Foundation Dr. Suharsha Kanathigoda, a Sri Lankan born specialist on palliative care travelled to Toronto recently to enlighten Sri Lankan expatriates  in the Greater Toronto Area on the importance of palliative care and to solicit their collaboration for this hospital project, following the signature of an MOU with the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka in August 2017.  The Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto U. L. Mohammed Jauhar graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

Read more: Enhancing Palliative Care Facilities in Sri Lanka Emphasized in Toronto

 

Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada Presents Credentials

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Sri Lanka’s envoy to Canada, Asoka Girihagama presented his Credentials as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Governor General Julie Payette of Canada at a ceremony held at the Rideau Hall in Ottawa on 13th November 2018. Senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canada and Diplomats attended the ceremony which was held to mark the presentation of credential by five envoys representing Mongolia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, The Gambia and Uzbekistan.

Addressing the five new envoys to Canada, the Governor General, in her welcome address, spoke briefly on the bilateral ties shared between each of the five countries and Canada. Referring to Sri Lanka, the Governor General noted the long standing relations between Sri Lanka and Canada and outlined issues of mutual interest.

At an audience following the presentation of credentials, the new High Commissioner among other matters, briefed the Governor General on recent developments in Sri Lanka. High Commissioner Girihagama stated that he was keen to improve trade and investment relations between Sri Lanka and Canada and encourage Canadian investments in Sri Lanka. He also stated that as a country with numerous sites and tourist attractions, Sri Lanka had immense potential to offer many diverse options to potential tourists from Canada.

High Commissioner Girihagama is a senior Diplomat counting over 26 years in the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. He has served in Embassies/High Commissions of Sri Lanka in Hungary, Austria, New Delhi, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to his appointment as High Commissioner to Canada, he served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman and as Senior Director General, South Asia and SAARC.

 He is married with one daughter.

   

Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa

14th November 2018

 

High Commissioner –designate Mr.Asoka Girihagama Assumes Duties in Canada

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The newly appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Mr. Asoka Girihagama assumed duties at the High Commission on 08th November 2018. He was received upon arrival at the High Commission by the members of the staff.

Addressing the staff of the High Commission upon assumption of duties, High Commissioner –designate Mr. Girihagama outlined the importance of widening Sri Lanka’s trade relations with Canada and the promotion of Canadian investment in Sri Lanka. His assumption of duties was marked by a simple ceremony organized by the staff of the High Commission along with milk rice and other sweets being served in keeping with Sri Lankan tradition.

High Commissioner- designate Mr. Girihagama joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1992, and has served in Embassies/High Commissions of Sri Lanka in Hungary, Austria, New Delhi, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.  He also served as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman from 2011- 2014. Prior to his appointment as the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada he served as the Director General of the South Asia and SAARC Division at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.

He holds a B. Sc. Degree and a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics and he is a past pupil of Anuradhapura Central College, Anuradhapura. High Commissioner- designate Mr. Girihagama is married and has one daughter.

 

High Commission of Sri Lanka, Ottawa

08th November 2018

   

IORA Ministers welcome Sri Lanka’s lead in Maritime Safety & Security

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The Indian Ocean Rim Association held its 20th Committee of Senior Officials and 18th Council of Ministers sessions from 31 October to 2 November 2018 in Durban, South Africa on the theme: Uniting the people of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East through enhanced cooperation for peace, stability and sustainable development.

In the country statement to the Council of Ministers, Sri Lanka’s head of delegation, Saroja Sirisena, Director General of Economic Affairs (Multilateral) of the Foreign Ministry highlighted the importance Sri Lanka places on regional cooperation and the sustainable use of the oceans.  Sri Lanka called for cooperative arrangements to be put in place towards realising tangible results enabling the people of the region to grow together. Sri Lanka also emphasised the need to increase intra regional trade and investment. It was also stated that in economic, strategic and environmental terms the Indian Ocean is poised to shape the planet in the 21st Century and Sri Lanka stands ready to play its role.

The report on the initial workshop to formulate the Terms of Reference for the Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security was presented to the IORA CSO. The IORA Ministers welcomed Sri Lanka’s efforts and progress made as the lead coordinator in the Maritime Safety and Security pillar and also the offer to host the first meeting of the Working Group in 2019.

The Ministerial Meeting was chaired by the Minister for International Relations & Cooperation of South Africa Lindiwe Sisulu.  In addition to the 21 Members States of IORA, the 7 Dialogue Partners comprising China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America participated at the session.  

As the Ministerial meeting coincided with the centenary of the birth of the legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela, a special commemorative declaration was adopted by the IORA Ministers.

Counsellor of the Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria Ms. Priyangani Hewarathna was part of the Sri Lanka delegation.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

05 November 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

   

Foreign Minister Amunugama says "no justification for the changing Travel Advisories"

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Foreign Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, said that there was no justification for the Travel Advisories issued by a few countries, since there have been no incidents of violence or disruption in the country following the recent events. The Tourism sector has not been subject to any inconvenience.

The Minister made these observations when he met with the leading inbound tour operators, Senior Officials of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), representatives of the Sri Lankan Airlines and other leading foreign carriers to discuss the Travel Advisories issued recently. He said that the Government was fully committed to safeguarding and improving of the tourism industry.

 Industry leaders   briefed the   Minister that in addition to regular flights,  TUI , one  of  the   world’s   leading  tour  operators, is  now scheduled to operate  03  Charter Flights to  Colombo  on   a weekly  basis  while  the TUI   Cruise Liner  is  also scheduled  to  use Sri Lanka as a Port of Call in   the  high  season. The  industry  leaders also  informed  that   Aeroflot has  announced     nonstop   direct  flights  from  Moscow  to   Colombo  from  28 October 2018  and  SWISS will  resume  its  direct  flights  Zurich – Colombo from 04 November 2018. Meanwhile   Lonely  Planet, one  of the   leading international travel  guide   publishers,  has   recently   named  Sri  Lanka  as   the world’s top  destination.   It was noted that presently there are around 4000 cricket fans from the UK in   Sri Lanka to follow the   English cricket team’s current tour. This was testimony to the peaceful environment prevailing in the country and tourists are enjoying uninterrupted access to tourist sites and facilities throughout the Island.

 The Minister also informed that since the assumption of his present portfolio he has instructed all Heads of Sri Lanka Missions overseas to personally make representation to the authorities concerned in their countries of accreditation in order to remove the Travel Advisories, to be in keeping with the ground realities in Sri Lanka. They will also maintain  regular interaction with the leading Travel Agents/ Outbound Tour Operators  in their  respective capitals to brief them on the peaceful situation prevailing in the island with a view to promoting arrivals. The Minister said that he planned to make Tourism Promotion a main aspect of the Foreign Ministry’s work programme.

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and Senior Officials of the Ministry were present at the meeting.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

02 November 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

   

Foreign Minister meets Heads of Mission of SAARC countries

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Foreign Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama met the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of SAARC countries and their representatives at his office today (31). Heads of Mission and their representatives of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Maldives and Pakistan were present on this occasion to discuss matters of mutual interest. The Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ravinatha Aryasinha was also present at this meeting.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

31 October 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

   

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