American Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States appreciates the firm steps taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to strength democracy and ensure transparency and accountability and promised the government all possible assistance to continue this process in the coming months and years. “We respect and value your work,” he said when he paid a courtesy call on President Sirisena today at the Presidential Secretariat.
He said that the United States considers the close relations with Sri Lanka very important and proposed setting up of Annual Partnership Dialogue to ensure continuity of close partnership between the two countries in economic, trade, investment and other areas.
Good Morning Ladies and Gentleman,
It has been a great honour and privilege to welcome the Honourable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, to the historic Republic Building which has been the home of our Foreign Ministry since Independence.
Secretary Kerry’s visit is a momentous occasion for Sri Lanka as it is the first official visit by a US Secretary of State in nearly half a century - 43 years to be precise.
On this occasion that marks 100 days since my election as President, I think it is proper that I address you as your first servant, appointed by you. Following the results of the Presidential Election on January 8 this year, you gave me the opportunity of being sworn in as the Head of State or President of this country.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera participated at the Global Conference on Cyberspace, from 16-17 April 2015 in the Netherlands. Speaking at the conference, the Deputy Minister underscored that Information and Communication Technology was the tool and enabler that would push the boundaries of socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and that e-Government led reforms would be a catalyst in bringing greater transparency, efficiency and accountability. He also briefed on various initiatives underway in the ICT sector that had brought Sri Lanka to the lead position in South Asia on the UN e-Government Readiness rank.
“What is special in this New Year celebration is the spread of festivity amidst the commitment to good governance that transcends differences of ethnicity, caste and community, with important strides being taken to realize the need for unity among all our people” said President Maithripala Sirisena.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a national festival which embellishes the national unity, brotherhood, equality, pleasure and prosperity of which traditions are embedded in the culture of Sri Lankans whose lives are mostly based on an Agricultural economy since distance past, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister said in his New Year Message.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera introduced amendments in Parliament today to the United Nations Regulations 1 and 2 of 2012 promulgated under the United Nations Act number 45 of 1968, to bring them into line with international obligations and strengthen the domestic legislative framework.
The UN Regulations of 2012, were enacted by Sri Lanka, in keeping with its international obligations to comply with UN Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1267, that set out measures and strategies to combat international terrorism. The proposed amendments to the UN Regulations that have been gazetted in Extraordinary Gazette No. 1892/37 of 11 December 2014, tabled in Parliament today by Foreign Minister Samaraweera are aimed at strengthening Sri Lanka’s domestic legislative framework to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions on terrorist financing and money laundering and will strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement and judicial authorities responsible for investigating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Switzerland is willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Sri Lanka and ready to extend its full support for a national reconciliation programme Visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter told President Maithripala Sirisena.
The visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs made this pledge Tuesday (March 17) when he met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat.
Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who visited Sri Lanka at the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena concluded his two-day official visit on Saturday 14 March 2015. He was received on arrival by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe along with several dignitaries. The visit follows President Maithripala Sirisena’s first overseas visit to India in February 2015.
The Prime Minister of India was accorded a ceremonial welcome on 13 March 2015 at the Presidential Secretariat including a Guard of Honour and the Gun Salute. The President of Sri Lanka, accompanied by the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and several Cabinet Ministers and, officials engaged in bilateral talks with the visiting Prime Minister and the Indian delegation. President Sirisena hosted a Banquet in honour of the visiting Prime Minister. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hosted a lunch in honour of Prime Minister Modi at which most of the Members of Parliament were present. On Friday (13 March) the Indian Prime Minister addressed a Special Sitting of the Parliament, visited the Mahabodhi Society in Colombo, laid a floral wreath at the IPKF memorial and addressed a gathering of the Business Community.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a state visit, announced a special gesture of on arrival visas to Sri Lankans holding diplomatic or official passport and visiting India as a step to enhance people-to-people contacts. He said that the new visa system will come into effect on April 14, 2015, as a gift on the important occasion of Sinhala and Tamil New Year, which is also the birthday of the great Indian Buddhist leader Dr Ambedkar.
After bilateral discussions between India and Sri Lanka, Mr Modi announced that the Reserve Bank of India will enter into an agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to establish a currency swap worth US $ 1.5 billion to ensure stability of the Sri Lankan Rupee.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, the Chair-In-Office of the Commonwealth met the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II in London Wednesday (March 11).
The Queen warmly welcomed the President Sirisena and Mrs. Jayanthi Sirisena who visited the Buckingham Palace yesterday at her invitation and engaged in a friendly conversation.
The United Kingdom is ready to offer its unwavering support to Sri Lanka in the country’s efforts to achieving future development goals, British Prime Minister David Cameron said during his meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena at No. 10 Downing Street yesterday.
During the discussion President Sirisena apprised the British Prime Minister of the steps initiated by the current government to ensure freedom and rights of every Sri Lankan including that of North and East. He also briefed the Prime Minister on the progress of the returning land to the civilians previously utilized for security purposes and the Task Force appointed to build harmony and reconciliation among different ethnicities. President while noting that the report of the said Task Force is scheduled to be released by July this year said steps have been taken to safeguard the independence of judiciary.
President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth and as a special guest attended the Commonwealth Day celebrations held at the Marlborough House, London, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, yesterday (9). President Sirisena, Madam Jayanthi Sirisena and Sri Lankan delegation were wormly welcomed there on behalf of the Government of Britain.
Queen Elizebeth, along with the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Williem and Kate Middleton attended the ceremony along with other members of the Royal family.
Indian External Affairs Minister, Shrimati Sushma Swaraj paid an official visit to Sri Lanka from 06 to 07 March 2015. This is the first visit to Sri Lanka by Ms. Swaraj in her capacity as Minister of External Affairs.
During her visit, Minister Swaraj met with her Sri Lankan counterpart, Mangala Samaraweera and held an extensive and cordial discussion covering a wide range of areas relating to bilateral cooperation.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera concluded a successful two-day official visit to China today, during which he paid a courtesy call on the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and also held extensive bilateral discussions with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, as well as met with the Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Wang Jiarui and the Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng.
Both sides reiterated the importance of the bilateral relationship between China and Sri Lanka, which has stood the test of time amidst changing international circumstances and evolution of domestic political situations, as testimony of a solid and deep friendship between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaweera will travel to Geneva to attend the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to be held on 2nd March 2015. Over 65 Foreign Ministers from around the world will participate in this year's High-Level Segment.
He is also scheduled to meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
Washington DC, February 19: Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake visited Washington D.C. from 17th to 18th February and met with senior officials of the Bretton Woods institutions, the US Treasury, the US Department of State and the White House. He met with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, the World Bank’s Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and US Assistant Secretary for Treasury Ramin Toloui as well as US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nish Biswal and the senior officials of the White House.
Finance Minister Karunanayake briefed both the Managing Director of the World Bank and Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the new government’s policy agenda aimed at long-term sustainable development and inclusive growth following the 100 day programme of the Government which has specific tasks to be accomplished. He emphasized that steps have already been taken to eliminate wasteful expenditures and corruption.
The most visible aspect of this festival, the lighting of lamps, symbolizes the constant efforts by humans to dispel the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge and understanding. It also signifies the search for unity and harmony among people that transcends all differences in society, President Maithripala Sirisena said in a message to mark Maha Shiva Rathri.
“The Hindus of Sri Lanka, who have a long tradition of friendship and harmony with all other communities in Sri Lanka, will gain more strength in their search for unity through reconciliation and understanding with the spirit of this festival,” the President said.
Sri Lanka and India signed four agreements/MoU during President Maithripala Sirisena’s state visit to India, Feb. 15-18, 2015.
Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Power & Energy on behalf of Sri Lanka and Mr. Ratan Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy for India signed an agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited Washington DC from 11-12 February. The visit which was his first to the US capital since assuming office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs followed the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to Colombo on 2-3 February and coincided with the completion of 30 days in office of the new Government in Sri Lanka.
During the two day visit, the Minister held a range of meetings including with Secretary of State John F. Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, co-chairs of the Sri Lanka Caucus in the US Congress, Chris Van Hollen and Robert Aderholt, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce and Ranking Member of the Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel. The visit also included speaking engagements followed by interactive sessions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on ‘Sri Lanka after the Presidential Election’ and at the National Press Club on ‘Sri Lanka – US Relations’.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 13th February 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.