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Sri Lanka becomes a Member of the Conference on Interactions and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)

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Sri Lanka was unanimously accepted as a Member of the Conference on Interactions and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on 15 August 2018, by its 26 Member States. At a ceremony held in Beijing on 15 August, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the People’s Republic of China, Dr. Karunasena Kodithuwakku signed the Declaration of Principles Guiding Relations among the CICA Members States and the Almaty Act, the two mandatory documents that a new Member State is required to sign to obtain full membership.

Established in 1992, the CICA is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia, which focuses on confidence building measures. Sri Lanka has been an Observer State of the CICA since 2012.

The membership of the CICA would further enhance Sri Lanka’s bilateral, economic and trade cooperation as well as people to people contacts with other CICA Member States.

The Member States of the CICA include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.

The current Chair of the CICA is China and the Secretariat of the Conference is located in Astana, Kazakhstan.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

17 August 2018

Text in Sinhala  (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

Sri Lanka and Oman sign Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion

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During the Second Meeting of the Sri Lanka-Oman Bilateral Consultations, held on 15 August 2018 in Colombo at senior officials' level, an Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Sultanate of Oman was signed by the leaders of the respective delegations.

The Sri Lanka delegation to the Bilateral Consultations was led by Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam and the delegation of Oman was headed by the Under-Secretary for Diplomacy and Chief Master's Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman Mahmood Awad Al Hassan. Senior Officials of both Foreign Ministries participated in the discussions with several line Ministries and agencies representing Sri Lanka joining as well.

During the Meeting, Sri Lanka and Oman reaffirmed the commitment to further consolidate and advance bilateral political and economic cooperation. The discussions focused on the follow-up action on the decisions made at the First Meeting of the Sri Lanka-Oman Bilateral Consultations held in Muscat in 2014, and new avenues for bilateral cooperation. The two sides agreed to work towards the establishment of business, trade and shipping links between Oman, as a gateway to the Middle East and Sri Lanka, as a hub of the Indian Ocean.

A wide range of matters for mutual collaboration in the fields of trade; tourism; immigration and emigration; labour and manpower training; defence; agriculture; higher education; and culture were reviewed and discussed. Moreover, fisheries, sports, oil and gas were identified as new areas for possible future cooperation. It was also agreed to assist the establishment of a Sri Lanka-Oman Business Council between the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The two sides also agreed to conclude an Agreement on Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments at the earliest, and to consider entering into a MOU on Skills Development and Mutual Recognition of Qualifications to facilitate mobility of skilled workers from Sri Lanka to Oman.

The two sides stressed the importance of continuing to work together at regional and multilateral fora for advancing shared interests. Consolidation of bilateral political relations through exchange of high-level visits was also discussed at the Meeting.

The visiting Omani delegation also called on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana during their stay in Sri Lanka.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

16 August 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

Second Integrated Consular Mobile Service coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in Mannar on 12 – 13 August 2018

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The 2nd Integrated Consular Mobile Service (ICMS), coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held on 12 – 13 August 2018 at the Mannar Town Hall.

The purpose of the ICMS was to address the consular related needs of those who had sought refuge overseas during the conflict and returned to Sri Lanka following the end of the conflict.  During the two-day ICMS, 242 applications for citizenship were received, 59 consular birth certificates were issued, and clarification was provided to those seeking advice and guidance on matters related to citizenship and birth certificates.

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana participated in the ICSM on 12 August and interacted with the people seeking assistance.

Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Registrar General’s Department and the Citizenship Division of the Department of Immigration and Emigration conducted the ICMS.

The 1st ICMS was held in Killinochchi on 01 – 02 July 2018 at which 201 applications for citizenship were received and 61 consular birth certificates were issued.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo.

 15 August 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

Sri Lanka - Progress Report

​1) ​ The Government will offer a Rs. 1 billion tea replanting subsidy this year to increase tea plantations and encourage planters.

https://www.news.lk/economy/item/21781-govt-allocates-rs-1-bn-for-tea-replanting

2)  Chairperson of Export Development Board says Sri Lanka is on course to reach the 2018 export target of US$ 17.5 billion set up by the government. The government has also set up an export target of US$ 20 billion revenue for 2019 and 23 billion for 2020 end.

https://www.news.lk/news/world/item/21758-sl-on-course-for-us-17-5-bn-export-target-for-2018

3) Prime Minister launched  a program to empower women socially, economically, and politically and make them contribute to the government's development drive. A workshop was held at Temple Trees under the patronage of the Prime Minister to educate 2,000 women on the "Dhanabhimani" Program.

http://www.colombopage.com/archive_18B/Aug10_1533918306CH.php

4) The Ministry of Youth Affairs facilitated a 15-day nationwide campaign from the 12th to the 26th of August 2018 to celebrate the International Youth Day and empower the youth. The main celebration of the international youth day and the exhibition held in Colombo (August 12) under the guidance of the Youth Affairs Ministry.

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2018/08/12/opinion/international-youth-day-today-%E2%80%98safe-spaces-youth%E2%80%99

5)    Trincomalee will become Sri Lanka’s ‘Eastern Gateway’ and will be remodelled as a hub for tourism, exports and logistics under a master plan for the district done by Singapore’s urban planning firm Surbana Jurong Consultants Pvt Ltd. The master plan adopts a ‘B.L.U.E. (biodiversity, liveability, uniqueness, economy) urbanism’ planning approach.

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2018/08/12/business/envisaged-%E2%80%98eastern-gateway%E2%80%99-master-plan-trinco-be-hub-tourism-exports-and

6) Global travel giant Airbnb and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the national tourism ministry, announced a strategic partnership to launch Airbnb Experiences in Sri Lanka and drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism across the country. This is the first agreement Airbnb entered into with a state tourism entity in Asia.

http://www.asianmirror.lk/news/item/27985-sri-lanka-tourism-launches-airbnb-experiences-to-help-boost-healthy-tourism

7)  Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is negotiating with Korea and Indonesia to buy fabric to secure a complete duty waiver exporting to the European Union (EU) under the GSP + concessions. Fabrics from Korea and Indonesia are said to be of a higher quality and purchasing from these countries would help Sri Lanka obtain a complete waiver of the duty concessions under the GSP + trade with the EU.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180812/business-times/korea-indonesia-in-trade-talks-with-sri-lanka-306402.html

12-08-2018

 

Visit of the Commonwealth Secretary General to Sri Lanka - Enhancing the Collaborative Partnership

The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC undertaking her first official visit to  Sri Lanka from 01-04 August, engaged in wide ranging discussions with the Prime Minister, Speaker and many other important cabinet Ministers in collaborating with Sri Lanka for a broader partnership on sustainable ocean development, open trade and trade facilitation, climate change, and social development through sports.

She hailed Sri Lanka stepping forward to become a champion country in the Commonwealth Blue Charter and the initiative taken to lead a commonwealth action group on conservation of mangroves to work together to manage and protect our oceans.

Reflecting on the fact that 60% of the commonwealth population was youth, she invited Sri Lanka to give leadership to a project in the region particularly in harnessing youth engagement in the development process through sports.  “Our ‘Peace at the Crease’ brings together men and women, young and old, and people from all faiths and those of none to face some of the most challenging issues of today’ the Secretary- General said suggesting that the cricket could be a pedal for community engagement and social development.  She also encouraged Sri Lanka to participate further in the commonwealth innovation hub and share our expertise with the member countries in utilizing our synergies for scientific development.

Elaborating on the Commonwealth’s Climate Finance Access Hub, the Secretary General spoke of the expertise developed which will help countries overcome difficulties on climate financing, and make successful applications to the international funds that address climate change. The Commonwealth member nations were encouraged to access this facility in the event of processing applications to draw from financing mechanisms such as the Green Fund - for projects to help people adapt to climate change and mitigate its effect.

The Commonwealth Secretariat under its democracy and good governance initiatives afforded technical assistance to Sri Lanka in many fronts. The Secretary General congratulated the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka for securing ‘A’ accreditation in full compliance with the Paris Principles at the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).

In a press statement during the visit, she credited President Maithripala Sirisena for initiating the Constitutional reform process in 2015 and noted that by strengthening the process to appoint independent commissions, including the Human Rights Commission the President has worked towards enhancing transparency and accountability of the good governance process.

In espousing the commonwealth values, Sri Lanka’s contribution towards the Small States Trade Financial Facility which was jointly setup by India, Mauritius, Malta and Sri Lanka was noted with appreciation as the Commonwealth Small States will have access to US $ 300 million of incremental trade finance over a three year period from this programme.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while acknowledging the Secretariat’s technical support extended to Sri Lanka in many fronts stated that “Sri Lanka will continue to spearhead the journey to build the country’s reputation and engage in trade relations and work towards securing a place for Sri Lanka in the international arena.

The Secretary-General sharing the Commonwealth Toolkits on several focused areas inter alia, Governance and Accountability, Sustainable Development Goals implementation, Climate Change, Legal etc, highlighted the importance of having Toolkits to share and learn the best- practices among the Commonwealth countries.  Sri Lanka agreed to look into the possibility of pioneering a toolkit for implementation which would enable its further development to suit the commonwealth member country requirements.

Concluding her 4 day stay, the Secretary-General visited the mangrove restoration sites in Kalpitiya and Pambala and encouraged Sri Lanka to further engage with the commonwealth through the Blue Charter and sharing of knowledge in protecting the ocean from the effects of climate change, pollution and over-fishing which will affect one third of the world’s national coastal waters, helping to sustain livelihoods and ecosystems globally. The Secretary General commended Sri Lanka on its project under the Queens Commonwealth Canopy initiative at Namalwatte, Trincomalee, and the particular focus given for restoration of an area devastated by conflict, having a positive    impact on the lives of the local community surrounding this area.

This visit has paved the way for Sri Lanka to work with the Commonwealth more closely on the agreed outcome of the Summit concluded in April 2018 in the UK based on fairness, prosperity and a sustainable and secure agenda in a collaborative spirit of the member nations. Sri Lanka will also host the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting in 2019.

Sri Lanka is a founding member of the modern Commonwealth which has 53 member countries and operates facilitating co-operation mainly in the areas of ; economic, social and sustainable development; Governance and Peace; Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

 

 

Launching of the "Ahanna" programme

Press release dated 09 August 2018, issued by the Department of Government Information with regard to the launching of the "Ahanna" programme, which aims to promote reconciliation and mutual trust among communities.  This programme, initiated by the Ministry of Finance & Mass Media and the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), will be implemented island-wide.

The videos of the programmes held in Dehiwala and Panadura on 08 and 09 August 2018, could be viewed via the following links and are available on the Ministry's Youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW0YOnOnAxU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2us1xFetVaw&t=15s

   

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana reiterates Sri Lanka's commitment for a comprehensive regional approach to combating people smuggling

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Speaking at the 7th Bali Process Ministerial Conference on people smuggling, human trafficking, and other international crimes on Tuesday 7 August in Bali, Indonesia, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana reiterated Sri Lanka's commitment for a comprehensive regional approach to combat people smuggling, and to work in partnership with governments, international organizations and civil society to prevent human smuggling, protect and support victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

Following deliberations at Ministerial and Senior Officials level, the Conference adopted a Ministerial Declaration and Chairman's Statement of the Senior Officials' meeting.

While recognizing the importance of the UN system, and other multilateral organizations as vehicles for international discourse and norm setting, the Minister expressed support to the Bali Process and to implement Sri Lanka's legal obligations with respect to combating migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons and transnational crimes. The Minister explained steps being taken by Sri Lanka including being party to the core international human rights treaties which provide for the prevention and suppression of human trafficking, noting in particular the ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its 2015 Protocol, and The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. He also referred to the monitoring mechanisms under Sri Lanka's National Anti- Human Trafficking Task force and the five-year strategic plan (2015-2019) based on the 4 pillars of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Foreign Minister Marapana was joined by Deputy Minister of Justice, Prison Reforms, and Buddha Sasana, Sarathi Dushmantha, who led Sri Lanka's interventions at the Ministerial session with Business leaders.

The Minister held bilateral discussions with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia (Mdm) Retno Marsudi, Australia's Home Affairs, Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton, and IOM's Director General Ambassador William Lacy Swing.

During his remarks at the Conference and during his interactions with Indonesia's Foreign Minister (Mdm) Retno Marsudi, Minister Marapana conveyed Sri Lanka's condolences to all those who have been affected by the devastating earthquake off the island of Lombok in Indonesia.

Associated with Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana at the Conference and related meetings were Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister of Justice, Prison Reforms, and Buddha Sasana Sarathi Dushmantha, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Indonesia and ASEAN Dharshana M. Perera, and officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice & Prison Reforms, the Attorney General's Department, and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Indonesia.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

8 August 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

   

News Reports regarding Imports from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka

The attention of this Ministry has been drawn to news reports regarding textile imports from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to several countries including Sri Lanka during the period October 2017 and March 2018.

The Ministry wishes to clarify that the information contained in the news reports in relation to Sri Lanka are erroneous.

In keeping with Sri Lanka’s international obligations as a member of the United Nations, the Government of Sri Lanka abides by the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolutions in relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Accordingly, necessary domestic regulations in relation to the implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions have been gazetted on 06 October 2017, 19 April 2018 and 14 May 2018 respectively (reference: Extraordinary Gazette Nos. 2039/32, 2067/14 and 2071/3).

Sri Lanka cooperates closely with the UN Security Council Panel of Experts (PoE) for the implementation of the respective Resolutions, and provides responses to questions raised by the PoE from time to time.

There have been several instances where, at the point of data entry into the Customs Automated Data Processing System by the Consignee/ Customs House Agent, the country of export had been selected inadvertently as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, instead of the Republic of Korea. Having clarified this inadvertent error to the PoE, the Sri Lanka Customs has now initiated a mechanism to prevent repetition of such errors in the future.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

08 August 2018

Text  in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

   

Forging stronger ties between Switzerland and Sri Lanka

 

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Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police of the Swiss Confederation undertook a three-day visit to Sri Lanka, during which she called on President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The main highlight of the visit was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Swiss Confederation on the establishment of a Migration Partnership.

Read more: Forging stronger ties between Switzerland and Sri Lanka

   

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