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The New Foreign Policy Priorities By Prof. G. L. Peiris Minister of External Affairs



The role that foreign policy has played in the recent past, most importantly, in creating the environment that made the successful conclusion of the war possible can be described as a genuine achievement. The activity on the battlefield was no doubt a major factor. However the conduct of foreign relations certainly played a major role in bringing about that positive outcome. In the past, there have been interventions which prevented the war from going forward. This time around, president Rajapaksa was able to handle those situations with considerable finesse. Foreign policy is also important in the post war scenario as we rebuild the country. Stability is important to bring about an environment necessary for rapid economic development. Now after two and a half decades of conflict, that stability has come. Our priorities in foreign policy will change from time to time depending on the situation. Now that there is a stable peace in the country, the main component of our foreign relations will be the focus on investment and trade.

Two months ago, our trade attaches all over the world were summoned to Colombo. When I briefed them, what I said is that in the conduct of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy in the capitals to which they have been sent, this is the most significant part of their work. That is the job of the trade attaches anyway, but our ambassadors and heads of mission have also been instructed that this is their main task. Even in Colombo, the larger foreign missions spend a lot of their time in commercial activity. For Sri Lanka, this is vitally important at this time. We have impressed upon our heads of mission, that they must give the sharpest possible focus to trade and investment in their work. The world is responding in a very positive way to Sri Lanka’s overtures in that regard.

My recent visit to Qatar was a very brief visit of 36 hours. The Qatari authorities are looking for suitable destinations for their investment. I met the Emir of Qatar as well as the Prime Minister who is also the Foreign Minister and what they said is that they are significantly increasing their investments in different parts of the world and that they would certainly like to take a close look at Sri Lanka because they are satisfied that the condition of the economy is propitious for that kind of initiative on their part. The synergies are such that it is a win-win situation for both. Qatar is the world’s largest producer of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) gas. So for Sri Lanka, it would be a decisive advantage to have a multi-purpose storage facility. We are now developing Colombo as a trans-shipment hub and our emphasis is on ports and harbours and linking Sri Lanka with the world. In that context the LNG multi-purpose storage facility would be a matter of high priority between the two administrations. We are now working towards an investment agreement and a joint commission. We already have an agreement with regard to the avoidance of double taxation and we will build on that.

Qatar will be hosting FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) in 2022 and already they are already preparing for it as a result of which there are plenty of opportunities for skilled employment there. It is not just domestic employment. In Qatar the higher echelons of the banking sector are manned by professionals from this country and they command a lot of respect there. Also in the construction sector there are professionals like Quantity Surveyors who are much in demand. Construction is a major industry there because they were not really affected by the global recession.     

Read more: The New Foreign Policy Priorities By Prof. G. L. Peiris Minister of External Affairs


Ayurveda Expo-2011. July 15-17, 2011-Colombo




The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka will be organizing "Ayurveda Expo 2011" from July 15-17, 2011 in Colombo. This event will be held in association with the Ministries of Indigenous Medicine, External Affairs, Economic Development, Industry and Commerce, Export Development Board and Sri Lanka Tourism and Sri Lankan Airlines.

The month of July 2011 is designated as "Visit Sri Lanka - Ayurveda". The proposed Ayurveda Expo 2011 is the main event associated with the month of July, and it  has number of associated events, such as mega exhibition,  business meetings, and symposium on Ayurveda and Indigenous Medicine


President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Thai Pongal message

Thai Pongal is a celebration of the Hindu-Tamil farming community that highlights the core values of their culture and civilization. It is a sacred day when gratitude is expressed to the Sun God for the bountiful harvest gathered. As such, it is a day for Hindus in Sri Lanka who march towards development in the golden rays of the sun, to join in celebration with those of their faith worldwide.

I join in the prayers on this Thai Pongal, for stronger bonds of friendship, mutual understanding and trust among all communities in the absence of fear and suspicion.

I call upon all on this day, to be united to achieve a sustainable peace, harmony, equality and prosperity in our land.

“The dawn of the Month of Thai, is the beginning of a new path”

Strengthen trust among peoples this New Year – President

We look towards the future at the dawn of this New Year with renewed determination, firm commitment and many positive expectations. It is a great achievement that freedom and peace is now established in our motherland to enable such aspirations.

The major challenge before us is to raise the position of our country in the world. We recognize this year as one where many giant steps towards development will be taken based on the five-fold sectors of progress. There will no doubt be a considerable increase in the sacrifices needed to achieve this, similar to those made to gain victory in the last five years.

Our aim is to recover with speed all that was lost to Sri Lankan society in more than three decades. Our wish is to make use of every opportunity to ensure prosperity to Sri Lankan society by providing the equitable sharing of economic benefits.

National unity is key to both uniting and developing the motherland. Thus, the time has come to rise above all differences. Only then could all conspiracies to deny coexistence, and those against the people and the nation, be defeated.

With great determination and patience, we have built mutual understanding and trust among the people about the nation's development. Strengthening this should be among our wishes for the New Year. In doing so, I trust you will gain further strength to make this New Year bring further victory to the nation.

I wish you a Happy New Year !

President`s Christmas Message


I wish a Happy Christmas to all Sri Lankans and citizens of the world who celebrate the birth of Christ at this Christmas!

The purpose of celebrating Christmas is to enshrine the message of peace and love in one's heart. It is especially a time to spread the message of love and compassion towards the poor and peace among all peoples.

Our great commitment in the recent past to promote solidarity among communities, is in keeping with the teaching of Christ to 'love thy neighbour'. Our efforts to free our people from poverty have been appreciated by Christians and those of all other faiths, alike.

Christ taught that, whosoever shall receive a child in my name receiveth me. Christian tradition holds that the three kings came to worship the new born child guided by the star light that marked his birth. Similarly, we must bring the joyous message of Christmas closer to the hearts of our children. Thus, we will be able to come closer to the peace and love of Christ through Christmas.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas filled with peace and joy.

Indian Minister of External Affairs to visit Sri Lanka

Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, S. M. Krishna, will commence a three day visit to Sri Lanka on 25 November 2010.

This visit, which is the first high level visit from India in the second term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa follows up on the important visit to India from 8-11 June 2010 by the President, which has laid a strong foundation for the future development of India-Sri Lanka relations. The Joint Statement issued during President Rajapaksa’s visit embodies the vision of the leaders of Sri Lanka and of India for harnessing the enormous potential available for consolidating and strengthening the bilateral partnership through building on shared values; leveraging common strategic concerns and interests; enhancing connectivity and economic engagement and reinforcing institutional frameworks for a comprehensive partnership in all areas of bilateral endeavour.

A key event that will take place during the visit is the convening of the Seventh Session of the India – Sri Lanka Joint Commission which is co-chaired by Minister S.M. Krishna on behalf of India and Minister G.L. Peiris on behalf of Sri Lanka. This will provide the two countries an opportunity to review the growing ties between Sri Lanka and India; monitor implementation of bilateral understandings and further enhance the bilateral relations. Several bilateral agreements will also be signed during the visit.

The External Affairs Minister of India would make use of his visit to Sri Lanka to inaugurate the Consulate General Offices of India in Jaffna and in Hambantota.

The other key elements of Minister Krishna’s programme include calls on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and on Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne.

Ministry of External Affairs

24th November 2010


United in peace, lets build a great nation - President


Our first task in our rise to be among the great nations of the world, is to ensure lasting national unity and sustainable, permanent peace in our motherland, stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the swearing in for his second term of office today (19 Nov) at the Presidential Secretariat.

Our policy is one of non-alignment, he said adding, ‘we do not have enemy states or such groups or blocs. During the last era, we worked with many nations in agreement and friendship for national security. We now step into the development era. We extend our hand of friendship to those who assist us in this endeavour’.

We have the inherited wisdom to tolerate all opinion and take mature decisions. We have a tradition of understanding our problems and conflicts and finding solutions for them, he further stated.

‘We are not a miniature of a developed country. We are Sri Lanka. Our motherland is Sri Lanka’.

Read more: United in peace, lets build a great nation - President


Deepavali Celebrations in Canada



The Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa, Canada and the Consul General’s Office in Toronto together with the Sri Lankan community celebrated the Deepavali festival on a grand scale on 7th November, 2010 at the Korean Cultural Centre in Toronto.  Religious dignitaries of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian clergy participated in the event.  Five Members from the Federal Parliament of Canada including Members of the Municipal Councils and over 300 Sri Lankans participated in the celebrations.

A significant feature this year was the involvement of the Tamil community in organizing and coordinating the event.  At the entrance to the hall, the members of the youth group “Sri Lankans Without Border” assisted in welcoming the guests according to the Hindu tradition. A member of the Tamil community Mr. Ignatius Selliah was the Master of Ceremonies who conducted the entire event in all three languages. The celebration began with a special pooja to invoke blessings which was conducted by Siva Shri Thiyagarajah Kurukkal, the Chief Hindu Priest of the Sri Durka Hindu Temple.

The Deepavali Message of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was read in Tamil and English.  Mr. Ajantha Gnanamuttu and Mr. Sivam Vinayagamoorthi, two members from the Tamil community spoke on the significance of Deepavali, which was followed by an address by the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Canada Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara.  The High Commissioner spoke of the prevailing peace in Sri Lanka which provided a conducive environment for the Tamil population to celebrate Deepavali with all the religious observances and cultural aspects associated with the event.  While touching briefly on the current developments in Sri Lanka, especially in the North and East, she requested all the Sri Lankans living in Canada to unite and work together for continued peace and prosperity of their motherland.  The official ceremony was followed by cultural performances depicting religious and Tamil traditions performed by Tamil and Sinhala artists.

The official programme ended with the distribution of door prizes.  The first prize was a London/Colombo/London air ticket donated by Sri Lankan Airlines and handed over by Mr. Lalith Wickremasinghe, Manager, Sri Lankan Airlines and the second and third prizes donated by the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council were handed over to the recipients by Mr. Kula Sellathurai, President, and, Mr. Ganeshan Sugumar, Vice President of the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council, respectively.

The official and cultural segment of the celebration was followed by a reception hosted by the High Commission and the Consul General’s office with traditional food and sweets associated with Deepavali.

 Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa, Canada


Photos by Mr. Nimal Egoda Gedara


Minister G L Peiris Refutes LTTE Propaganda in London


Delivering the Keynote Address of the first Dialogue between the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London and the Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, the External Affairs Minister Professor G.L Peiris said that it is regrettable that groups close to the LTTE, knowing very well that they cannot unleash violence the way they did with impunity in the past, have now taken on an initiative of a different complexion, which has assumed the character of an economic onslaught against Sri Lanka. Their purpose now is to dissuade investors and tourists from coming to Sri Lanka and cut off access to western markets for Sri Lankan products.

Referring to a query from The Telegraph yesterday seeking the views of the Government of Sri Lanka on a number of photographs the suppliers of which had claimed to be taken in the North of Sri Lanka during the final phases of the conflict which ended in last May, the Minister said that the group which is close to the LTTE and had supplied the photographs to the newspapers themselves had admitted that they were not in a position to confirm the authenticity, place and the veracity of the material supplied by them. Citing this as an example to explain the nature of the misinformation campaign against Sri Lanka, the Minister added that when several photographs allegedly depicting war crimes were first published by Channel 4, the Government clearly established, by reference to technical considerations, that they were not genuine but fake. However, the same set of photographs continues to appear in a well planned, systematically orchestrated pattern, from time to time. He recalled that one week before the European Commission was scheduled to take a decision on the extension of GSP+ trade concessions to Sri Lanka, they again surfaced.

Read more: Minister G L Peiris Refutes LTTE Propaganda in London


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