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Interview with Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha on National Rupavahini (May 7, 2020) on the repatriation program

2020-05-09-To
 

FOREIGN MINISTER CONVEYS SRI LANKA’S APPRECIATION TO CUBA FOR SUPPORT DURING COVID-19

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The Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena conveyed his deep appreciation to the Cuban Government for the support extended through the dispatch of a Cuban medical team to the Republic of Haiti to attend to the medical needs of Sri Lankans employed in Haiti.  The Foreign Minister conveyed these sentiments during a meeting with the Cuban Ambassador in Sri Lanka Juana Elena Ramos Rodriguez on Tuesday 12 May at the Foreign Ministry. The five-member medical team was dispatched by the Cuban authorities on the express request of the Sri Lankan Government to support the over-100 apparel sector employees in Haiti.

The medical team which arrived in Haiti on 7 May, advised the Sri Lankan employees on best practices to be adopted for the prevention of COVID-19 spread, regular health screening, and primary care for those in need. In this regard, Minister Gunawardena once again conveyed his gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla through the Cuban envoy in Colombo.

The Foreign Minister also discussed COVID-19 containment measures adopted by Sri Lanka and Cuba, assistance sought by the Sri Lankan Government in obtaining diagnostic medical items from the Cuban Government to contain the virus, as well as future strategies for economic cooperation. Ambassador Rodriguez commended the Sri Lankan Government for the successful COVID-19 containment measures implemented through timely and centralized action, making use of the effective health system prevalent in the country.

The Cuban Ambassador updated the Foreign Minister on developments in Cuba and the Caribbean region, activities of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and connectivity between Cuba and the European and Asian regions. The discussion also focused on existing cooperation between Sri Lanka and Cuba in the bilateral and multilateral spheres on issues of relevance.

 

Ministry of Foreign Relations

Colombo

12 May 2020

 

INDIA DONATES 4TH CONSIGNMENT OF ESSENTIAL MEDICINES TO SRI LANKA

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The Deputy High Commissioner of India in Colombo Vinod Jacob today made a token handover of the fourth consignment of essential medicines and medical items to Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medical Services Pavithra Wanniarachchi, and Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha at the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

The consignment, which consists of around 12.5 tonnes of medicines and equipment arrived by a special Indian flight on 8 May 2020 in Sri Lanka, marks Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to assist the neighbouring and partner countries to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the symbolic handing over event, the Deputy High Commissioner called on the Foreign Relations Minister for a brief meeting to review the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the fields of politics, trade, tourism, health and regional affairs.

The Foreign Relations Minister appreciated the continued support of India in sharing vital resources including medical supplies as donations in the current period of common challenges. Minister Gunawardena expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for expeditious action in relation to the repatriation of Sri Lankan nationals in India in the midst of a national lockdown.

 

Ministry of Foreign Relations

Colombo

11 May 2020

 

NOTICE TO SRI LANKAN STUDENTS WHO WISH TO RETURN TO SRILANKA

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VESAK DAY MESSAGE OF H.E. GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSA, PRESIDENT OF SRI LANKA

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FOREIGN SECRETARY ARYASINHA ELABORATES ON CABINET DECISION TO GIVE PRIORITY IN REPATRIATION TO VULNERABLE SECTORS AMONG OVERSEAS SRI LANKAN MIGRANT WORKERS

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha participated in a television interview, recorded today (07 May 2020), at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) where he expanded on the Cabinet Paper presented by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations  regards "addressing the vulnerable sectors of the migrant labour category of Overseas Sri Lankans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic by the Government of Sri Lanka".

The full transcript of the interview is below.

Read more: FOREIGN SECRETARY ARYASINHA ELABORATES ON CABINET DECISION TO GIVE PRIORITY IN REPATRIATION TO VULNERABLE SECTORS AMONG OVERSEAS SRI LANKAN MIGRANT WORKERS

   

MODALITIES TO ISSUE TEMPORARY TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TO UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS ABROAD AGREED ON

2020-05-04-T

Modalities to issue temporary travel documents to undocumented workers abroad following proper authentication procedures has been agreed on by the Department of Immigration and Emigration. This follows consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations and Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). It is intended to facilitate the repatriation of migrant workers, once the Government decides on a timeline for their repatriation.

This was discussed at a meeting convened today (04 May 2020) by the Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, Dinesh Gunawardena with the relevant line agencies.

The interest expressed through the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ portal by migrant workers to return and the amnesties presently declared by Kuwait and Jordan were reviewed. The vulnerability faced by migrant workers particularly in the Maldives and possible measures to address it, was also discussed. The programme by the Foreign Ministry and the SLBFE to provide dry rations to the Sri Lankan migrant communities most affected was also assessed.

Minister Gunawardena briefed those present on the negotiations that have taken place with the foreign governments concerned and efforts being made to be responsive to these governments, while ensuring that any repatriation remains consistent with the ongoing quarantine process.

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Senior Additional Secretary (Development) of the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations Sujeewa Thissera, Controller General of Department of Immigration & Emigration Sarath Rupasiri, Chairman of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Kamal Ratwatte, and other Senior Officials, participated at the meeting.

 

Ministry of Foreign Relations

Colombo

04 May 2020

   

FACILITATION OF INWARD REMITTANCES-FOR SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNTS (SDAS)

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REPATRIATION OF SRI LANKAN STUDENTS FROM SOUTH ASIA CONCLUDES

2020-04-30-Chennai-T

With the arrival this evening (30 April) of UL 1188 carrying 125 Sri Lankan students from Kolkata, the operation to bring home 1065 Sri Lankan students based in the South Asian region, over 10 days, reached a successful conclusion.

Commencing on 21 April 2020, a total of nine (9) Sri Lankan Airlines special flights were used to destinations in India (Punjab, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kolkata) Pakistan (Karachi and Lahore), Nepal (Kathmandu) and Bangladesh (Dhaka), to repatriate the  Sri Lankan students who had expressed their desire to return to Sri Lanka in the wake of the COVID 19 Pandemic. Those repatriated also included public and military officials who had completed study and training programmes in the respective countries and had to return to take up official duties back in Sri Lanka. Currently all returnees are undergoing mandatory quarantine at facilities afforded by the Sri Lanka Government.

Following the analysis of data on the most vulnerable Overseas Sri Lankans wishing to return and the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, on 14 April, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed that students in South Asia be the first category to be repatriated following the closure of the airport for arrivals to Sri Lanka from abroad. The Ministry in close collaboration with the Sri Lanka Missions in South Asia, the Presidential Secretariat, the Coviod 19 Task Force and the Sri Lankan Airlines, and with strong assistance of the respective foreign governments ensured the safe return of the students stationed across many cities in the region, amidst numerous challenges posed by the complexities arising out of the global Pandemic.

Read more: REPATRIATION OF SRI LANKAN STUDENTS FROM SOUTH ASIA CONCLUDES

   

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