Director-General Visits World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle

16 aug 2016 unesco dg visit sl

The Director-General began her first official visit to Sri Lanka on 14 August 2016 with a circuit around the “cultural triangle”, home to several of the country’s eight World Heritage Sites.

Accompanied by the Minister of Education, the Honourable Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO, she visited the  Ancient City of Polonnaruwa and the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, followed by Kandy's Dalada Maligawa temple, where she viewed the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha relic shrine in the presence of its Custodian and the Chief Minister of the Central Province.
 

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Introductory Remarks by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera for the Keynote Address by Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova

16 aug 2016 hon mfa dgunesco visit

Introductory Remarks by
 
Mangala Samaraweera, MP., Minister of Foreign Affairs  
for the Keynote Address  by  Mme. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO  
16th August 2016
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I feel most honored today to have the opportunity of introducing to you Mme. Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, who has so generously accepted our invitation to deliver this Keynote Lecture at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. Thank you Mme. Bokova, we warmly welcome you to Sri Lanka, and to this Institute. 

Madam Bokova’s keynote speech today will be on the very timely and interesting topic of “Soft Power for peace and development: UNESCO and the Sustainable Development Goals”. 
 

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Visit of the Prime Minister of Norway

12 aug 2016 hon mfa norway pm


The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, Erna Solberg, commenced a two-day official visit on 12 August 2016. This official visit takes place in her dual capacity as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway as well as co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocacy Group, an appointment made by the UN Secretary- General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.


Prime Minister Solberg had bilateral discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena on 12 August and she also called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan.

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Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture 2016

12 aug 2016 norway pm lkiir oration


Sustainable Development Goals: Working together for our Common Good

Speech by Hon. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway.
Colombo, 12 August 2016

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Executive Director, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you, Dr Panditaratne for giving me this opportunity to speak about sustainable peace and development at this prestigious institute. The topic is very close to my heart as a co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group and as Prime Minister of Norway.

After having spent a few days on holiday in your beautiful country, I have already become very fond of Sri Lanka – its wonderful people, it’s fascinating culture and its magnificent scenery.

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Esala Weerakoon assumes duties as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1 aug 2016 sfa esala weerakoon


Mr. Esala Weerakoon, member of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service batch of 1988 assumed duties as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 1 August 2016. Earlier in the day he received his letter of appointment from the Secretary to the President.

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Remarks to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera following bilateral talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion

28 july 2016 hon mfa remarks canada fm visit

Remarks to Media by Mangala Samaraweera Minister of Foreign Affairs following bilateral talks with H.E. Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 July 2016

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is both an honour and enormous pleasure for me to welcome Honourable Stéphan Dion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, to Sri Lanka.

Honourable Stéphan Dion’s visit is a landmark in our bilateral relations with Canada. This official visit of a Foreign Minister from Canada takes place after 13 long years.

Though geographically distant, Canada and Sri Lanka have shared a remarkable relationship over the years, and it was somewhat sad to watch our relations drift for awhile.

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CALLING FOR SUBMISSIONS ON RECONCILIATION MECHANISMS

crest-srilanka


The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms is calling for submissions from diaspora organisations on the design of structures, processes and measures for truth, accountability, reparations and non-recurrence, i.e. an Office on Missing Persons, an Office on Reparations; a Judicial Mechanism with a Special Counsel; a Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-Recurrence Commission; and any other mechanisms, processes or measures for advancing reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Submissions can be made to the Task Force by diaspora organisations/ individuals until August 10, 2016.

 

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Sri Lanka receives WHO Certification for Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis

21 july 2016 elimination of filaria WHO


21 July 2016 Today Sri Lanka received certification from WHO for having eliminated lymphatic filariasis - one of the oldest and most debilitating, neglected tropical diseases. WHO Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, presented the certificate to Minister of Health, Dr Rajitha Senaratne, at a ceremony in Colombo.

“The Ministry of Health has prioritized the elimination of this neglected tropical disease for several decades. We have now reached a major turning point, eliminating lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem," said Dr Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine.

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Joint Press Release following the 20th meeting of the European Union - Sri Lanka Joint Commission

19 july 2016 eu joint commission

The 20th meeting of the European Union (EU) - Sri Lanka Joint Commission took place in Brussels on 19 July 2016. The meeting was co-chaired by Mrs Chitranganee Wagiswara, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, and Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service. 

The Joint Commission, which oversees the 1995 EU-Sri Lanka Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development, deals with a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Its tasks are to: ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Agreement; set priorities; and make recommendations. 
 

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Opportunities of Convergence: Keynote Address at the South Asian Diaspora Convention by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka: 18 July 2016

18 july 2016 hon pm singapore diaspora meeting


Opportunities of Convergence
Keynote Address at the South Asian Diaspora Convention
by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
on Monday 18th July 2016, in Singapore

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Singapore, Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Distinguished delegates and Friends.

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Remarks to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera following discussions with US Asst. Secretaries of State: 12 July 2016

12 july 2016 hon mfa-remarks

Remarks to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera following discussions with US Asst. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal & US Asst. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo. 12 July 2016

 

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski to Sri Lanka and to this Ministry, once again.

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Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera delivers opening address at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo

21 june 2016 hon fm death penalty
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.
 

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Speech by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo, 21 June 2016

22 june 2016 hon mfa norwegian peace
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.

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Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s remarks following bilateral talks with Turkish Foreign Minister

16 june 2016 hon mfa turkey mfa

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, 
 
It has been an honour and indeed a privilege to welcome to Sri Lanka the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Honourable Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The visit is significant as this is the very first visit by a Foreign Minister of Turkey to Sri Lanka. I am confident that over the course of this visit we will build a solid foundation for this new chapter in our bilateral relations. 
 
We have just concluded a very productive discussion and signed the ‘Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on Diplomatic Training, Exchange of Information and Documentation’. Greater interaction between our foreign offices would certainly pave the way for stronger ties in all spheres of cooperation between our two states. 

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Cabinet of Ministers approves draft legislation enabling the issuance of Certificates of Absence

crest-srilanka

Today, June 7th, the Cabinet of Ministers approved draft legislation enabling the issuance of Certificates of Absence. The draft legislation which involves an amendment to the Registration of Deaths (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 19 of 2010 will now be gazetted and the process of presentation to Parliament will commence. 


This measure will help tens-of-thousands of Sri Lankans whose family-members and loved ones are missing and who are unable to address practical issues relating to their disappearance. 

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Restrictions on issuing passports to Sri Lankan Citizens lifted

crest-srilanka

The Government has today, 1 June 2016, issued a circular ending the restrictions placed in March 2011 on the issuance of passports to Sri Lankan citizens resident abroad who, at different times, were compelled to leave Sri Lanka due to conflict or political reasons.
 
In March 2011, instructions had been issued to all Sri Lanka Missions abroad to refrain from issuing passports to those who had applied and gained refugee status or asylum in another country unless they have renounced their refugee and/or asylum status. These instructions constituted a violation of citizen’s rights and resulted in hardship and difficulty to many Sri Lankans who were forced to leave the country for political reasons and denied a Sri Lankan travel document.
 

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PM calls for close cooperation between governments and service organizations

30 may 2016 Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing rotary international convention

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the cost effective methods for governments to discharge its obligations to provide welfare services require close cooperation with service organizations.
 
The Prime Minister delivering the opening remarks at the 107th Rotary International Convention in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday (May 29) explained that the monetary restraints, budgetary control and reducing the Budget Deficit do not mean that the Governments can abandon responsibility for some of its welfare services.
 

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Japan-Sri Lanka Summit Meeting

H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President Sri Lanka
 
On May 28, 2016, H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, held a bilateral summit meeting in Nagoya, Japan, following the Outreach Meeting during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit.
 
Both leaders shared the view, considering the fact Sri Lanka is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, that the development of the country and strengthening regional connectivity are of critical importance to the prosperity of the entire region. Both leaders reaffirmed that they would strengthen cooperation for the implementation of the Comprehensive Partnership between Japan and Sri Lanka and the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure. 
 

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Steer econ growth to sustain well-being of Asia – President Sirisena calls on G 7

26 may 2016 president visit japan


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.

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Cabinet approval to open office for missing persons

26 may 2016 hon prime minister


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.

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Innovation to take Lanka forward: PM

24 may 2016 innovation2030
 
Sri Lankans will have to innovate to be more competitive in the global market, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
 
Speaking at the Sri Lanka’s First National Summit on Foresight and Innovation titled ‘2030NOW: Foresight and Innovation for Sustainable Human Development’ organized by UNDP at Water’s Edge yesterday he said that innovation can take Sri Lanka to the next level from the current middle income country. “Sri Lanka is situated in one of the fastest growing regions in the world in the next few years and firstly it would give agriculture a lot of scope since there will be more ‘mouths’ to feed.”

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President meets Indian Premier

14 may 2016 meeting indian pm

Modi assures assistance for reconciliation
Setting up of Allopathic Medicine Investment Zone in Sri Lanka was discussed
 
President Maithripala Sirisena who is on an official visit to India had bilateral discussions with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today (May 13) in Hyderabad Home New Delhi.
 
During the discussion, the Indian Premier assured to give every support to Sri Lanka to make the reconciliation program successful.
 

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British Premier commends Lanka’s commitment for corruption free good governance

12 may 2016 meeting british pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron commended the commitment of the Sri Lankan Government for corruption free good governance.
 
He made these remarks when he met President Maithripala Sirisena for bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the Anti Corruption Summit, being held in London today (May 12).
 

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The Full text of the speech by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London on May 12

12 may 2016 world anti corruption summit 2016

I thank Hon. Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister for inviting me to attend this Anti-Corruption Summit in London. I consider this summit a significant step to combine our collective efforts to fight corruption that is wide spread all over the world.
 
Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka went through such a stage during the previous administration. The people reacted strongly against corruption by changing the corrupt administration by the power of the ballet in January 2015 at the Presidential election and again at the Parliamentary election in the August 2016.
 

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