Foreign Secretary Aryasinha outlines role and preparations of the Ministry and its missions in tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic

06 04 2020 sfr adaderana hydepark front

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has outlined the role and preparations of the Ministry of Foreign Relations and its missions across the world, in helping Sri Lanka tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing concerns of Sri Lankan nationals overseas. Referring to Sri Lankan citizens abroad, he said “parents here in Sri Lanka, should rest a little bit more comfortably about their children, knowing that the Embassy is a phone call away and if there are issues on the ground, that our Missions abroad will deal with it” and that “if there is a real calamity, the Government of Sri Lanka will step in”. He said while dealing with the immediate concerns at hand, the Ministry and Missions are working hard “to anticipate and prepare for any difficulties ahead, and to further map out what we do the day after this problem is solved, particularly on the economic front”.

The Foreign Secretary made these observations, in a wide-ranging interview with Indeewari Amuwatte, on the ‘Hyde Park’ programme of Ada Derana 24, on 4 April 2020.

Full interview is at :


Suspension of Visas in Sri Lanka due to the COVID – 19 Outbreak - IX

eta 13 03 2020

All types of visa issuance to enter Sri Lanka for all the foreign nationalities will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Further all types of Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETA), Entry Visas, Landing Endorsements, Multiple Entry Visas and Residence Visas already granted to all the foreign national and not arrived to Sri Lanka yet will be temporarily suspended and they will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka until further notice.

‘Ceylon Black Tea’ rich in “Theaflavins” conducts its very first successful E-auction

05 04 2020 ceylon tea e auction

“CEYLON TEA” producing some of the most coveted teas in the world for more than 150 years, has reached its peak demand while making a milestone at the Colombo Tea Auction this week.

As a much -needed change in the industry’s old traditions, Ceylon Tea conducted its first e-platform auction prompted by COVID 19 ‘Social distancing’ stringent health precautions adopted by the Island. The very successful auction via an online platform was concluded on a promising note in Colombo for its ‘high grown’ Teas, while registering as the highest ever in its history.


Minister Gunawardena explores practical solutions to assist expatriate communities with Foreign Ministry Officials

04 03 2020 mfa release 2 hon mfa meeting

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Relations today at the Ministry to discuss about the welfare of the Sri Lankan expatriate communities, difficulties currently being faced by these communities and ways to explore practical solutions to assist expatriate communities at this time of need.

Earlier this week, taking note of the growing concerns of the Overseas Sri Lankans amidst the rapid spread of COVID- 19 and their inability to immediately return to Sri Lanka, the Ministry had discussed with Sri Lanka Missions abroad ongoing and further measures to ensure the well being and safety of Overseas Sri Lankans.


Foreign Ministry takes stock of action by Sri Lanka Missions abroad to ensure the welfare of Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL)

03 04 2020 mfa pic 1

The Ministry of Foreign Relations, sensitive to the concerns of the OSLs amidst the rapid spread of the COVID-19 and the inability to return to Sri Lanka, has held consultations over the past 2 days with its Heads of Missions based in 67 cities across the world, to facilitate the wellbeing and safety of Overseas Sri Lankans, while preparing for any exigencies they could have to meet in the coming days.


COVID – 19 Fund increases further

31 03 2020 covid fund

With direct deposits and donations from organizations and individual donors the COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’s balance surpasses Rs. 242 million.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa established this Fund on March 23.

The Fund’s balance reached Rs.145 million as at 8.00 a.m. today with the Rs.9.5 million direct deposits to the Bank and Rs. 500,000 donation from the Presidential Secretariat.

The balance surpassed Rs. 242 million with contributions of Rs.10 million by the Financial Management Accounts Department of the People's Bank, Rs.03 million by People's Bank Pensioners Association, Rs 5 million each by People's Leasing, Litro Gas Lanka Limited, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and Bank of Ceylon, Rs 8 million by The National Savings Bank and Rs.50 million by Akbar Brothers Pvt Ltd.

A special account had been opened at the Corporate Branch of the Bank of Ceylon under the account number of 85737373. Local as well as foreign donors have made their contributions to the Fund. Donations to COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund have been exempted from taxes and foreign exchange regulations. Deposits can be made through cheques or telegraphic transfers.

Further details can be obtained from Mr. K.B. Egodawela, Director General (Administration) through 0112354354.


Mohan Karunaratne
Deputy Director
President’s Media Division



Press Release in SInhala

Press Release in Tamil

Press Release in English 

All Types of Visa issuances to enter Sri Lanka for all the Foreign Nationalities will be temporarily Suspended

eta 13 03 2020

The Directive issued by the Secretary of Ministry of Defense is as follows,

Suspension of Visas in Sri Lanka due to COVID-19

All types of visa issuance to enter Sri Lanka for all the foreign nationalities will be temporarily suspended until further notice.


Over 17,000 Overseas Sri Lankans register on ‘Contact Sri Lanka’

map slmissions abroad

Over 17,457 Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) had by Saturday noon (28 March), registered on the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Online Portal of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Of these, 6773 are from the Middle East region, 1892 from Europe, 1302 from South Asia, 1028 from North America and over 6000 from other parts of the world.

This portal jointly created by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for the benefit of Overseas Sri Lankans, was launched on Thursday (26 March 2020). It is hosted on the Ministry web page and can also be accessed at A dedicated team of officials have been assigned by the Ministry of Foreign Relations to respond to queries.


Foreign Ministry launches ‘Contact Sri Lanka’-Online Portal for Overseas Sri Lankans in collaboration with ICTA

contact srilanka mfa

‘Contact Sri Lanka’ an online portal jointly created by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for the benefit of Overseas Sri Lankans was launched today (26 March 2020) at the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The web link is hosted on the Ministry web page and also can be accessed at

Establishment of the portal, is pursuant to the call made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for coordinated efforts by all Government stakeholders to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and to harness digital technology to prompt faster and more efficient service delivery.


Suspension of Visas in Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

eta 13 03 2020

All types of visa issuance to enter Sri Lanka for all the foreign nationalities will be Temporarily suspended until further notice.

All types of Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETA), Entry Visas, Landing Endorsements, Multiple Entry Visas and Residence Visas already granted and not arrived to Sri Lanka yet will be temporarily suspended and those foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka until 31.03.2020, 23:59hrs (local time in Sri Lanka).


Sri Lanka Missions in India continue to coordinate early return of Buddhist pilgrims

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai, in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, continue their coordinating and facilitating endeavours for the early return of Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims currently in India, following the temporary closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport for inward commercial flights.

During the day of 18 March, approximately 700 pilgrims returned to Sri Lanka from India by scheduled commercial flights and the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai facilitated their return travel, including through discussions with the relevant airlines to reschedule tickets.


COVID19 Update: Tourism Industry

Sri lanka tourism 2020

18 March 2020 20:00 hours

COVID19 Update: Tourism Industry

As you are aware, the entire globe is striving to face the challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic. In response to the current situation, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken several measures to safeguard its citizens as well as the many foreign nationals that are currently touring Sri Lanka.

We would like to furnish you with a brief on such measures taken by the government and a few relevant facts that might be helpful for the tourism industry.


Sri Lanka urges foreign states to extend visas of visiting Sri Lankans

18 mar 2020 extension of visas to srilankans abroad

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has requested foreign governments to facilitate the appropriate extension of visas for Sri Lankans currently visiting their countries, and facing difficulty to return to Sri Lanka on account of the travel bans that have and will become applicable as part of the control measures on COVID- 19. He noted that the Government of Sri Lanka had on Tuesday (17 March) announced a one-month extension of all types of visas for those foreign nationals presently in the country, from the date of expiry of their present visas. He said such reciprocal arrangements were a common practice, and hoped that this could be facilitated for Sri Lankans, to minimize the anxieties faced by those travelling, in these exceptional times.


Close of International Airports in Sri Lanka for Inward international passenger flights

Sri lanka civil aviation

The Sri Lanka Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has notified all online and offline carriers that according to instructions received from the Sri Lanka Health Authorities, all international Airports in Sri Lanka will be closed for operation of inward international commercial passenger flights (i.e arrivals) with effect from 4.00 am on 19 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka) until 11.59 pm on 25 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka).


NOTICE – Suspension of Visa on arrival

eta 13 03 2020

This Ministry wishes to inform that a meeting presided by the highest office has decided to suspend the ETA on arrival for foreigners.

01. Accordingly

i. With effect from 12.00 noon (Sri Lanka time), 14th March 2020, the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) on arrival, for foreigners who hold ordinary (or) normal passports will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

ii. A foreigner who holds Diplomatic (or) Official passport is exempted from above suspension at (1).

iii. Citizens of Singapore, Maldives and Seychelles are also exempted from above temporary restriction at (1).


Foreign Relations Minister conveys Sri Lanka’s strong objections on the imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and immediate family

17 feb 2020 Hon MFA meeting USA Ambassador

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena today (16 February 2020) formally conveyed to the US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz Sri Lanka’s strong objections on the imposition of travel restrictions by the Government of the United States of America on Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army and Actg. Chief of Defence Staff, as well as his immediate family. Earlier on Friday (14 February 2020), the Foreign Ministry had issued the Government of Sri Lanka’s immediate reaction following the announcement by the US Secretary of State.


“Timelines evolved externally would hinder process of reconciliation”: Sri Lanka’s envoy tell the UN Security Council

17 02 2020 Newyork Security Council

“Timelines evolved externally in achieving stated objectives would only seek to hinder the process of reconciliation since they would be bereft of ground realities” emphasized Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Kshenuka Senewiratne during a one day debate at the UN Security Council titled “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Transitional Justice in conflict and post-conflict situations,” held on 13th February 2020. She added that when seeking mechanisms of transitional justice, related simple theories would need to also take cognizance of the various historical, cultural and religious sensitivities.


Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and Switzerland exchange views on arrest of Sri Lankan employee of Swiss Mission

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena this evening (18 December) received a telephone call from the Foreign Minister of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis regarding the status of the Sri Lankan employee at the Swiss Embassy Ms. Garnier Banister Francis. She is presently in custody on reasonable suspicion of committing offenses under Sections 120 and 190 of the Penal Code, that could justify a criminal charge of disaffection towards the government, and fabricating false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, in her alleged abduction claim.

Considering the good bilateral relations between the two countries, the Swiss Minister requested that all possible cooperation be extended to expedite the process.

Noting that Ms. Francis is a Sri Lankan citizen, and that the matter was presently in Court, Minister Gunawardena said the Government of Sri Lanka will do whatever it can according to the law of the land. Minister Gunawardena re-affirmed that Ms. Francis has been granted with all possible facilities and that all her rights have been protected.

Referring to the Swiss Foreign Ministry statement of Tuesday (17 December), Foreign Minister Gunawardena emphasized that Sri Lanka has fully complied with national law and international judicial standards, and that any assertion to the contrary was factually inaccurate. He detailed the steps taken from the time the incident was first reported, through the presentation of Ms. Francis by the Swiss Embassy to the CID 13 days since the alleged incident, to the present, and emphasized that due process has been adhered to at each step, in keeping with international norms respected by both countries.

Reaffirming the commitment to consolidate bilateral relations, Minister Gunawardena agreed that the Foreign Ministry will continue to engage in further discussions in this regard, with the Swiss Ambassador in Colombo.

Ministry of Foreign Relations
18 December 2019

Update on the alleged incident relating to Swiss Embassy staff member

The Government of Sri Lanka, having taken serious note of the alleged criminal incident concerning a locally recruited staff member of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, on Monday, 25 November 2019, immediately ordered a thorough investigation into this matter.

This evening (1 December 2019) Secretary/Foreign Relations Ravinatha Aryasinha together with Secretary/Defence Major General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne and relevant officials met with the Ambassador for Switzerland in Sri Lanka Hanspeter Mock and the Deputy Chief of Mission, and briefed them on the results of the investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police.

While the Embassy had not presented the alleged victim to be interviewed by the law enforcement officials despite their request to do so, based on the information provided by the Swiss Mission on Friday 29 November 2019, the investigation was nevertheless conducted. The Ambassador was presented with clear evidence that the sequence of events and timeline of the alleged incident, as formally presented by the Swiss Mission on behalf of the alleged victim to the CID, did not in any way correspond with the actual movements of the alleged victim on that date, as borne out by witness interviews and technical evidence, including Uber records, CCTV footage, telephone records and the GPS data.

In light of the incontrovertible evidence presented by the law enforcement authorities to the Swiss Mission, it was underlined that further investigations would need to be continued to ascertain the actual facts surrounding this allegation, for which the alleged victim will have to be interviewed by the law enforcement authorities. Given that the alleged victim had also claimed that she had sustained injuries during the alleged abduction, it was noted that she should be presented for a medical examination by a Judicial Medical Officer in Sri Lanka.

The Embassy has been requested to cooperate fully with the Government of Sri Lanka to establish the veracity of the claims relating to this alleged incident.

Ministry of Foreign Relations


1 December 2019

Address to the 74th UN General Assembly by Mr. Ravinatha P Aryasinha, Secretary, Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka


01 10 2019 74th UNGA

Address to the 74th UN General Assembly by Mr. Ravinatha P Aryasinha,

Secretary, Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka

30th September 2019

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,


Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed an honour to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) representing Sri Lanka. H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka, regrets very much his inability to have attended this Session.

Permit me to warmly congratulate H.E. Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th session of the UNGA, on his election. Undoubtedly his longstanding experience will guide the work of this august assembly to a successful conclusion. Let me also thank the outgoing President H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés for successfully conducting the work of the last session.

I wish to extend Sri Lanka’s appreciation to Secretary-General António Guterres for his sagacious leadership and untiring efforts in achieving the objectives of the United Nations.



06 09 2019 image

Sri Lanka has sought expertise in preventing violent extremism (PVE) from the Global Community Engagement & Resilience Fund (GCERF), in the post Easter Sunday scenario where violent extremism has become the biggest threat to national security. At the invitation of the Foreign Ministry, the Executive Director of GCERF, Dr. Khalid Koser was in Sri Lanka from 27 – 30 August, and met with political leaders, senior officials and other stakeholders with a view to ascertain possible programmes for GCERF assistance.

During his meeting with Dr. Koser on Thursday 29 August, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana who appreciated Dr. Koser’s presence in Sri Lanka, pointed out that addressing this issue in Sri Lanka must be done in the context where the majority Sri Lankan Muslim community has collaborated with the Government in apprehending the culprits connected to the dastardly attacks on Easter Sunday. The Minister further highlighted the value of community policing where extreme elements must be identified and dealt with at the early stages of radicalization. He further emphasized that the ordinary Sri Lankan populace is not extremist, but that vulnerable elements can be manipulated by interested parties in attempts to flare up situations for ulterior motives. The Minister also raised the dilemma of dealing with individuals who return from conflict areas, which is an issue faced by many countries.

Dr. Koser underlined that national ownership, effective coordination and the local context for any PVE programme is central to GCERF assistance. He further briefed about GCERF engagement in comparable situations in Bangladesh, Tunisia, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, the Philippines and Myanmar.



06 09 2019 SFA

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha said post 21/4 has been a ‘litmus test’ on Sri Lanka’s resolve to adhere to human rights standards, while fighting terrorism, and also to determine the robustness and shortcomings of the democratic institutions that have been strengthened in recent years.

The Foreign Secretary made this observation when he delivered the Valedictory Address on the theme ‘Lessons Learnt in Dealing with the Challenges Faced by Sri Lanka in the Aftermath of 21/4’, at the conclusion of the 9th Colombo Defence Seminar – 2019, held at the BMICH on Friday (30 August 2019). Nearly 800 persons, including eminent practitioners and scholars from 40 countries, as well as representatives of the armed forces, diplomats and defense analysts within Sri Lanka, attended the two day Seminar. The Foreign Secretary commended the Sri Lanka Army for the organization of this annual event, which has become an internationally recognized forum for intellectual exchange and discussion on issues of contemporary relevance, particularly related to strategic issues and security – nationally, regionally and internationally.

Noting that this year’s Colombo Defense Seminar on the theme ‘Evolving Military Excellence in the Contemporary Security Landscape’, takes place in the backdrop of the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks, Mr. Aryasinha emphasized that countries challenged by terrorism, “must  ‘fight terrorism’ and ‘protect human rights’ simultaneously, and not sacrifice one at the altar of the other”. He noted that this very delicate balance has often been elusive – with states veering towards one extreme or the other, applying double standards to similar situations and often politicizing these issues. Stating that the recovery over the past 4 months has demanded “a stronger than ever before ‘whole of government’ approach” – one in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been integrally involved, in his address the Foreign Secretary focused on the chain of developments that took place in the country since 21/4, in order to bring normalcy and economic recovery back to Sri Lanka.



06 09 2019 joint press release

The fourth meeting of the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission was held in Colombo on 30 August 2019.

The meeting took place in the context of regular bilateral exchanges between the European Union and Sri Lanka, and readmission to the EU GSP+ scheme, in light of Sri Lanka’s commitment to implement the international conventions ratified by Sri Lanka on human rights, labour rights, the protection of the environment and good governance.

The EU welcomed progress made in protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country, and called for continuation and consolidation of these achievements in the future. Furthermore, advancing the rights of women and children, enforcing non-discrimination on any grounds, addressing the rights of persons belonging to minorities, finalising the return of land, were discussed. Progress on implementation of the zero-tolerance of torture was reviewed.

The EU also reiterated its opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and encouraged Sri Lanka to maintain its moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Sri Lanka’s efforts in strengthening institutions, policies and legislation to fight corruption were welcomed.

The Joint Working Group discussed matters related to minorities and measures to address hate speech, as well as, radicalization and violent extremism. In the context of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, EU and Sri Lanka have agreed to strengthen cooperation and dialogue on counter-terrorism in the aftermath of the attacks. The need for new counter-terrorism legislation in line with international standards and human rights was stressed.

The Working Group reaffirmed its commitment to promote and protect human rights domestically and globally and to collaborate on the effective implementation of international human rights instruments. The conclusions and recommendations of the Working Group will be reported to the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission to be held in Colombo.

The delegation of Sri Lanka was led by Ms. Dhammika Semasinghe, Director-General for European Union and Commonwealth Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka. The delegation of the European Union was led by Ms Caroline Vinot, Head of Division for Regional Affairs and South Asia of the European External Action Service.

Courtesy :

31 August 2019,

 Ministry of Foreign Affairs,


President Duterte confers Order of Sikatuna on Ambassador Aruni Ranaraja

20 06 2019 image01

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Philippines, Aruni Ranaraja was conferred the Order of Sikatuna, with the rank of Grand Cross (Datu), gold distinction by President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 18 June 2019 during a farewell call paid by the Ambassador at the Malacañan Palace in Manila.

The Order of Sikatuna was established in 1953 and is conferred by the President of the Philippines to give recognition to individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines and to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign States who have rendered conspicuous services in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines as well as personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs, both in the Home Office and in the Foreign Office.

With the rank of Grand Cross (Datu), gold distinction, the Order of Sikatuna has been awarded to Ambassador Ranaraja in recognition of her major contributions in further strengthening the cordial relations between Sri Lanka and the Philippines as well as her role in facilitating the State Visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to the Philippines in January 2019 which opened a new chapter of enhanced and robust relations between the two countries.


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