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Parliamentary High Posts Committee approves nominations of fourteen career diplomats

The Committee on High Posts of the Parliament of Sri Lanka to examine the suitability of persons nominated/ appointed to the state services and the state corporations (High Posts Committee) on Wednesday 27 March approved the appointments of fourteen career diplomats nominated by President Maithripala Sirisena as Heads of Sri Lanka Missions overseas.

The fourteen senior officers, belonging to the Grade I of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service  (SLFS) who are to be appointed as Heads of Mission are as follows:

Mrs. K.D. Senewiratne, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York, Mr. Rodney M. Perera, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States of America, Mrs. Grace Asirwatham, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium and the European Union, Mr. A.S. Nakandala, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ms. Y.K. Gunasekara, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Mrs. J.A.S.K. Jayasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Thailand,Mrs. Pradeepa Saram, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Bahrain, Mrs. Shobini Gunasekera, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Philippines, Mrs. Saroja Sirisena, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Austria and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. O.L. Ameerajwad, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman, Mr. M.J.P. Jayesinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Waruna Wilpatha, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Israel,Ms. Sashikala Premawardhane, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Singapore, and Mr. Rizvi Hassen, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Turkey.

With these appointments, the percentage of career diplomats heading Sri Lanka Missions overseas increased from 36.57% to 46%. Sri Lanka maintains 52 Embassies/High Commissions overseas.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo 

30 March 2019 

 

New Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka appointed in Montréal, Quebec

 

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Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canada, M.A.K. Girihagama, handed over the Commission of Appointment issued by the Government and Sri Lanka and the Exequatur granted by Canada to Mr. Claude Gagnon, who was appointed as the Honorary Consul in Montréal for the province of Quebec, on 26th March 2019 at the High Commission.

 

In his brief remarks, High Commissioner Girihagama underlined the important role played by the Honorary Consul and the need to foster deeper ties between Sri Lanka and Quebec. The High Commissioner also requested the Honorary Consul to guide Sri Lanka nationals and prospective visitors to Sri Lanka on consular matter while also encouraging stronger bilateral ties including the promotion of investment, tourism and trade between Sri Lanka and Quebec. 

 

Honorary Consul Gagnon, who is the President, Operations of the Bank of Montreal (BMO) Financial Group, a leader in the financial sector, was selected following a rigorous process in keeping with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka.

 

In addition to the appointment of Honorary Consul Gagnon, three new Honorary Consuls for   Sri Lanka were also appointed to Calgary in Alberta, Halifax in Nova Scotia and St. John in New Brunswick on 4th March 2019. In addition, Sri Lanka also has an Honorary Consul in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa

26th March 2019

 

Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto pays courtesy call on Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

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The Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto Kapila Jayaweera paid a courtesy call on Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on 14 March 2019.

During the courtesy call, Consul General Jayaweera recalled the Canadian support for socio-economic development in Sri Lanka during the past few decades and exchanged views on the well-being of the Sri Lankans living in the Greater Toronto Area and its suburbs.

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario admired the achievements and various volunteer contributions of Sri Lankans living in Canada towards the Canadian society.  The Governor further briefed the Consul General on the multi cultural environment in Canada and on the opportunities available, especially for education, for Sri Lankans living in Canada.

Consulate General of Sri Lanka

Toronto

18 March 2019

 

Foreign Minister and delegation meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Director General UN Office in Geneva

Foreign Minister Hon. Tilak Marapana and delegation met with Madam Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Under- Secretary General in charge of the UN Office in Geneva Mr. Michael Moller this week, on the side-lines of the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

High Commissioner Bachelet on 20 March, having received the delegation warmly, appreciated the progress made by Sri Lanka in some of the key human rights commitments arising from HRC resolution 30/1, and reaffirmed her readiness and willingness to continue to work with Sri Lanka closely in further strengthening implementation and achieving progress through technical assistance and support in areas where such assistance was required by Sri Lanka.

The delegation comprising Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama, M.P., Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan, Governor of the Northern Province, and Mr. Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez had a frank and candid discussion with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, during which perspectives on different aspects of OHCHR’s engagement with Sri Lanka were shared by the delegation. Regarding certain information contained in the Office of the High Commissioner’s Report such as the “mass graves” in Mannar, the release of lands held by the military in the North and East and other matters, the Sri Lanka delegation emphasized the importance in compiling these reports by engaging closely with the relevant local institutions and independent bodies, including the National Human Rights Commission, in verifying facts on the ground.

At the meeting with the  UN Under- Secretary General on 21 March the Foreign Minister briefed Mr. Moller on progress achieved by Sri Lanka in reconciliation, peacebuilding and development and emphasized the importance of continuing assistance by UN agencies in ongoing reconstruction, reintegration and sustainable development efforts. The Foreign Secretary and the Permanent Representative were associated with the Minister.

Appreciating Sri Lanka’s leadership in some of the key areas of UN work, Mr. Moller indicated that his office would facilitate contacts between Sri Lanka and other development partners based in Geneva to help explore joint projects to complement Sri Lanka’s national efforts at advancing socio-economic development, noting further that “Sri Lanka being a country with reasonably higher social indicators than many developing states, it could better share best practices and lessons learnt in its national development efforts with the SDG Lab maintained by the United Nations Office (UNOG) and benefit from the experiences of other countries as well. Responding to Sri Lanka initiative on the National Thripitake Week and the importance of Thripitake as a UNESCO heritage, Under-secretary General Moller assured the delegation that the UN Office in Geneva would extend support for holding specific activities such as library talks on traditions and cultures highlighting their significance as common heritage.

On 21 March, Heads and deputy heads of UN and other International Organizations based in Geneva, Ambassadors to the Human Rights Council and other representatives had an opportunity to meet Hon. Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and other members of his delegation at a reception organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva at a venue provided courtesy the World Intellectual Property Organization.

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nation

Geneva

23 March 2019

 

 

Statement by Hon. Tilak Marapana, P.C. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council on Agenda Item 2

 

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Statement by Hon. Tilak Marapana, P.C. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Leader  of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council on Agenda Item 2 - Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka: 20 March 2019 – Geneva.

Mr. President,

Madam High Commissioner/Deputy High Commissioner,

Members of the Council and Delegates to the 40th Session of HRC,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am pleased to be at the 40th Session of the HRC to share Sri Lanka’s significant progress on human rights since the last review in 2017. I am joined by my parliamentary colleague Hon. (Dr) Sarath Amunugama, the Governor of the Northern Province Hon (Dr) Suren Raghavan, senior government officials including Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, and Permanent Representative Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez.

Sri Lanka’s engagement  in these Council sessions is in keeping with our government’s vision for a country that embodies the universal values of human rights, justice, rule of law and good governance, while striving to eradicate poverty and ensure economic dividends to all – providing the people a fundamental assurance of security and a sustainable future.

Read more: Statement by Hon. Tilak Marapana, P.C. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council on Agenda Item 2

 

Foreign Minister Marapana underlines that the prime duty of Sri Lankan Defence Attachés is to serve the country and its people

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Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana said that the prime duty of Sri Lankan Defence Attachés assigned to Sri Lanka Missions overseas is to serve the country and its people and that they should be mindful of the fact that they are 'there to serve and not to be served'.

Foreign Minister Marapana made these remarks attending as the chief guest of the certificate awarding ceremony of the Intensive Training Programme for military officers who would be assigned as Defence Attachés/ Advisors in Sri Lanka Missions overseas, organized by the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI), the training arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The certificate awarding ceremony was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday (08 March). The participating military officers received their certificates from Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana upon successful completion of the training programme.

Read more: Foreign Minister Marapana underlines that the prime duty of Sri Lankan Defence Attachés is to serve the country and its people

   

5TH Meeting of Sri Lanka - European Commission Joint Readmission Committee

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The 5th meeting of the Joint Readmission Committee between Sri Lanka and the European Community was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo on 11th March 2019.

The Meeting was co-chaired by Additional Secretary (Multilateral Affairs), Ahmed A. Jawad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Head of Unit of Irregular Migration and Return Policy, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG-Home) of the European Commission, Dan Rotenberg.

The Agreement between the European Community and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on the Readmission of Persons Residing without Authorisation, was signed on the 4th of June 2004 and entered into force on 1st May 2005.  It was part of an initiative to combat illegal migration and was also an indication of the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka and the European Community to combat all forms of organized crimes.  The Agreement also guarantees the safe and orderly return of illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers back to their country of origin.

The discussions were held in a very cordial atmosphere with both Parties pledging support in fulfilling the obligations under the Agreement.

Read more: 5TH Meeting of Sri Lanka - European Commission Joint Readmission Committee

   

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and Burundi

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Upon the signing of the Agreement by H.E. Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and H.E. Mr. Albert Shingiro, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Burundi to the United Nations on 11th March 2019 in New York, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of Burundi decided to establish Diplomatic Relations between the two countries with effect from 11th March 2019.

The establishment of diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and Burundi would enhance the existing friendly relations and cooperation in the political, socio-economic and cultural fields for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo.
   

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana reaffirms commitment to consolidate the Sri Lanka –Cyprus bilateral engagement and officially inaugurates the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Nicosia

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Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to advance and broaden the scope of the bilateral engagement with Cyprus, when he met the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides for discussions last week. This was the first official visit to Cyprus undertaken by a Sri Lankan Foreign Minister since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1963.

During the visit, he called on H.E. Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, and met with the Minister of Labour, Welfare, and Social Insurance Zeta Emilianidou. Foreign Ministers Marapana and Christodoulides together, inaugurated the office of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Nicosia at a formal ceremony on 28 February 2019.

Read more: Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana reaffirms commitment to consolidate the Sri Lanka –Cyprus bilateral engagement and officially inaugurates the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Nicosia

   

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