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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.