Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on an official visit to Norway from 21-23 June, delivered the Opening Plenary Address at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo on 22 June, on the theme ‘Progress and Setbacks in Asia: Lessons to be learnt’. The World Congress Against the Death Penalty which takes place every 3 years, is organised by the association Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM). The Minister of Justice, Wijedasa Rajapakse, also represented Sri Lanka at this meeting.
Minister Samaraweera called on Prime Minister Erna Solberg and had meetings with Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg, State Secretary Tore Hattrem and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in the Parliament of Norway.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in fact all of you are aware, that on the 08th of January last year in a historic election, in fact what the world calls the rainbow election of 2015, the people of Sri Lanka voted for change, and for democracy, reconciliation and development, the three pillars on which the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe are taking the country forward today.In fact on that day, the people of Sri Lanka chose free and fair elections, good governance and the rule of law over authoritarianism and impunity; they chose stability, reconciliation and peace over the politics of fear and hate which had prevailed for many, many years previously. And they eschewed isolationist crony capitalism for openness to the world and a competitive, transparent rules-based economy.
In fact, this victory in January was repeated again in August where extremist political parties on all sides of the divide were again decisively defeated and for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history, the two principle political parties which have governed Sri Lanka since independence chose to be on the same side leaving aside the bitterness of the past. And also for the first time, the leader of the TNA, the party which represents the Tamil community in Sri Lanka was chosen as the leader of the opposition and thus I feel a new window of opportunity was opened for Sri Lanka after many years to rectify the mistakes of the past and go forward towards a new future.
President Maithripala Sirisena said that Japan’s formal announcement that G7 will explore what is needed to sustain the well-being of Asia to steer economic growth, highlights the relevance of Sri Lanka being here. “It endorses Prime Minister Abe’s reasoning for selecting us.”
Addressing the G 7 Outreach Summit today (May 27) in Ise-Shima in Japan, he said that with a revolutionary change of governance, his government has succeeded in creating the path for viable development environment and for reconciliation in a multi-faceted society. Now, the people are free and respect human rights.
Cabinet has approved a proposal of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs to establish an office for the missing persons.
The decision has been reached according to the strong requests received from the families of the missing persons asking the true information on disappeared or missing persons.
Establishing this office will enable such families to reunited, closure with regard to such disappearance, or granted with reparations and other relief and support.
Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama led Sri Lanka delegation to the 12th US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting in Washington which adopted a path breaking Action Plan to boost bilateral trade and investment.
The Council meeting was Co-chaired by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama. United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power participated as well, encouraging the Sri Lankan government to continue its vital progress on democracy, accountability, and human rights. Ambassador Froman noted that the election outcome has ushered in a new era of U.S.-Sri Lanka economic cooperation. Joint Statement issued at conclusion of the meeting is attached.
Sri Lanka was among the 171 countries that signed the Paris Agreement today (22) at the High- Level Signature Ceremony of the Paris Agreement held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This high-level signature ceremony is the culmination of negotiations held amongst member states who agreed on the landmark climate deal during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) held in Paris in December, last year.
Hon. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Science, Technology and Research signed the Agreement on behalf of Sri Lanka.
Address of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera
at Lunch Meeting with Business Leaders and Parliamentarians
Melbourne, 4 April 2016
On the eight of January last year, in a historic election the Sri Lankan people voted for democracy, reconciliation and development, the three pillars on which the government is taking the country forward today. They chose robust democratic institutions over kleptocracy and authoritarianism, they chose healing and unity over hate and division and they chose a development strategy based on free competition and a level playing field over a system of crony capitalism.
As a result, Sri Lanka, the oldest democracy in Asia, which has faced two Marxist insurgencies, a civil war and nearly a decade of self-imposed international isolation, is now on the verge of a renaissance. The new government has a clear mandate and is putting in place the foundations for political and policy stability, growth and development, in addition to regaining Sri Lanka’s role at the centre stage of international affairs.
Address of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, MP
at the Australian Institute for International Affairs Roundtable
Victoria, 4th April 2016
On January 8th last year, in a historic election, the people of Sri Lanka cast their votes for democracy, reconciliation and development. They chose free and fair elections, good governance and the rule of law over authoritarianism and impunity; they chose stability, reconciliation and peace over the politics of fear and hate. And they eschewed isolationist crony capitalism for openness to the world and a competitive, transparent rules-based economy. Basically, the people of Sri Lanka were weary of politics and governance that just wasn’t cricket. They wanted the new Sri Lanka with an undoctored pitch, an untampered ball and genuine umpires.
The new government was left to clean the Augean stables – a debt-ridden economy, a divided country and gross corruption. While a great more needs to be done, in the last year there is no one who doubts that there has been a sea change in Sri Lanka. In fact, Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN said, “I cannot think of a country in the world today where there has been this much change in such a short a period of time”. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to begin my talk today by briefing you on Sri Lanka’s progress and plans and then moving on to touch on the Sri Lanka-Australia Partnership.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva and the Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anuradha Jayarathna met with the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Hela Cheikhrouhou at the GCF Secretariat in Songdo, Republic of Korea, on Friday 18th March 2016. A delegation of senior officials from the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment accompanied the two Deputy Ministers to Songdo to discuss projects to address climate change related issues in Sri Lanka. Created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the mission of GCF is to expand collective human action to respond to climate change. The Fund aims to mobilise funding to invest in low-emission and climate-resilient development in the planet.
Mano Tittawella has been appointed as the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms.
The Secretariat will handle the design and implementation of Sri Lanka's reconciliation mechanisms. Tittawella, the Chairman of EAP Holdings, was the Director-General of the Public Enterprise Reform Commission, the Chairman of the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency, the Chairman of the Task Force to Rebuild the Nation, the Director-General of the President's Office and a Senior Presidential Advisor.