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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake represents Sri Lanka at the Bled Strategic Forum -2018 in Slovenia

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake visited Slovenia at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Karl Erjavec to attend the 13th Bled Strategic Forum, which was held on 10-11 September 2018. The theme of this year’s Forum was “Bridging the Divide”.

State Minister Senanayake was a panellist at the panel discussion on “Alone we fail: Working together for a sustainable future”. The panel consisted of high level speakers drawn from different countries representing governments, academia, civil society and the corporate sector.

Read more: State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake represents Sri Lanka at the Bled Strategic Forum -2018 in Slovenia

 

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake Visits Ethiopia

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake undertook an official visit to Ethiopia from 13 to 17 September 2018.  Sri Lanka established formal diplomatic relations with Ethiopia in 1972, and the Sri Lankan resident Embassy in Addis Ababa was officially opened in February 2017, jointly by the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.

In honour of State Minister Senanayake, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Hirut Zemene hosted a breakfast meeting attended by senior officials of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The discussion centered on further consolidating bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and  Ethiopia and diversifying the areas of cooperation.  Exchange of business delegations between the two countries was also discussed and State Minister Senanayake extended an invitation to his Ethiopian counterpart  to lead a trade delegation to Sri Lanka.

State Minister Senanayake also  paid a courtesy call on Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome.

During the visit, State Minister Senanayake also visited the Headquarters of the African Union Commission and had a meeting with Dr. Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security and the Acting Chairperson of the African Union Commission. The discussion focused on promoting  relations between the African and Asian continents.  Sri Lanka obtained accreditation status of the African Union in April 2014 as a Non-African State and Sri Lanka’s first resident Ambassador in Addis Ababa presented his credentials to the African Union Commission in December 2016 as Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka.

Further, the State Minister had meetings with senior officials of the Ethiopian Investment Commission and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, and exchanged information on trade and investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia for promoting bilateral economic relations. State Minister Senanayake also visited the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa.

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union Commission Sumith Dassanayake accompanied the State Minister to the meetings.

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Addis Ababa

 

18 September 2018

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Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

Minister Sagala Ratnayaka Undertakes Official Visit to the United States

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Minister of Youth Affairs, Project Management & Southern Development and Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister Sagala Ratnayaka undertook an official visit to Washington D.C. from September 12-13.

During the visit Minister Ratnayaka met with Chairman Mac Thornberry of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and Chairman Ted Yoho of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. The Minister also met with senior interlocutors of the National Security Council, the Department of State, the Department of Defence, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Minister Sagala Ratnayaka briefed them on current developments in Sri Lanka. They discussed the ongoing Sri Lanka–U.S. partnership and opportunities for further expanding bilateral cooperation within the framework of President Donald Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. In this context, he welcomed the recent announcement by the U.S. of approximately $39 million in Foreign Military Financing for Sri Lanka, pending congressional approval.

Minister Ratnayaka also expressed Sri Lanka’s deep appreciation to the U.S. for the transfer of the high-endurance ex-U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Sri Lanka Navy in August. The cutter will be the largest ship in the Sri Lankan naval fleet and will strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and enhance the capacity and the operational capability of the Sri Lankan Navy to more effectively secure the country’s maritime interests.

Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Sri Lanka Priyanga Wickramasinghe and senior officials of the Embassy were associated with Minister Ratnayaka in the bilateral discussions.

Later, Minister Ratnayaka visited California where he attended the 2018 International Democrat Union (IDU) Meeting from September 16-18 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Democrat Union is an IDU Vice Chairman (ex-officio) since 2005.

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

 

Washington D.C.

 

September 18, 2018

 

 

If we are to promote the Culture of Peace we must start with our youth and in our schools, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe tells the UN

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Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told the UN General Assembly on 05 September 2018 that Education is vital in promoting a culture of peace. The Minister was speaking at the High Level Forum for a Culture of Peace convened by the President of the General Assembly.

In his remarks Minister Rajapakshe congratulated the President of the General Assembly for convening the timely Forum noting that the present discussion will highlight the importance of full and effective implementation of the forward looking objectives States have collectively subscribed to through substantive General Assembly Resolutions for the past 20 years.

“Sri Lanka asserts and re-affirms its commitment to building a culture of peace, and recognizes the need for continuous support to further strengthen this global commitment,” the Minister said, flagging vital issues such as multilateralism, empowerment of women, national ownership, education, media and technological advances in fostering a culture of peace.

Dr. Rajapakshe also delivered the keynote address on 04 September at a Summit of Parliamentarians on the theme “The role of parliaments in promoting a culture of peace and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals” at the United Nations Head quarters organized by the Inter Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics and co-hosted by the Missions of Sri Lanka and Benin.

The Minister pointed out that when thinking about the role of parliaments in implementing the SDGs, we have to realize that there can be no development without peace and no peace without development. It is vital, he said, to understand the interlinkages between the seventeen SDGs and underpinning by Goal 16 on building peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. Similarly, the minister stressed, there can be no sustainable peace without the Rule of Law. In this regard the essence of Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote the Rule of Law is not only a self-evident objective but also catalytic to all the Goals, he added.

The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, in his welcome remarks at the Summit of Parliamentarians, noted that in Sri Lanka’s  own reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts and promoting a culture of peace, it has paid special emphasis on sensitizing the youth and children on the inherent values of a culture of peace, inculcating the value of empathy, inclusion, compassion and respecting the richness of diversity, which are critical ingredients of these efforts.  Education Sector reforms  with emphasis on a value based education is very much part of Sri Lanka’s ongoing reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts, the ambassador further said.

During his visit to New York Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe paid a courtesy call on the President of the General Assembly and also participated in a roundtable discussion on the Culture of Peace at the United Nations together with several parliamentarians from Benin, Madagascar, Nigeria, Spain and France among others.

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

New York

06 September 2018

 

   

State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe leads a Private Sector Delegation to Kenya

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State Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe,  led a delegation of private sector companies to Kenya together with the Export Development Board (EDB) on 05 September 2018.

The State Minister addressed the Sri Lanka –Kenya Business Forum organized by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Nairobi where the private sector companies had the opportunity to meet prospective buyers, wholesalers and Kenyan entrepreneurs to further their businesses. The Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industries(KNCCI) partnered    with the  High Commission  to brief  the  Sri Lanka  delegation on the  business environment  in Kenya and the opportunities available for Sri Lankan companies in the areas of  Fast Moving  Consumer  Goods (FMCGs) and on the Light Engineering Sector.

The State Minister emphasised on the strategic location of both countries and explained as to how  the two  countries  could mutually benefit  in doing  business.  He stated that  Kenya is the  gateway to East Africa  while  Sri Lanka  with its  growing  number of  free trade agreements  is the  gateway to Asia for Affrica.  Commenting that both  countries  are not  rivals   in business  but  countries   who  could grow together  complementing  and  learning from each other, the State Minister  said that this  is  only the  first  step  to many more visits  that  will strengthen  the relations  and  understanding  of the potential of growth of both countries. He thanked the  Chief  Executive Officer of the KNICC, Mr George  Kiondo  and his team for their efforts and  welcomed a buyer delegation  from Kenya  to Sri Lanka.

The State Minister also met Mr.Tobias Alando, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Manufactures Association(KMA). The Sri Lankan delegates   had fruitful B2B discussions  with Kenyan  businesses,  jointly  organised by  KMA and Mr Ruwan Fernando  of Mayleen  Group of Companies in Kenya.

State Minister Senasinghe also met with the Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH, Chief Administrative Secretary of Foreign Affairs to discuss  trade related outstanding issues.  Secretary Namwamba  assured that  Kenya  will be  hosting the 2nd Joint Trade Committee at the earliest. Appreciating  the assistance given by Kenya  in training long distance runners of Sri Lanka, the State Minister informed that Sri Lanka will assist Kenya in its efforts to improve  cricket.

The meetings were attended by High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Kenya Sunil de Silva, Chairperson of the Export Development Board Indira Malwatte, Deputy High Commissioner Anzul Jhan and Director Market Development of EDB Anoma Premathilake . The private sector delegation comprised of representatives from Hettigoda Industries Ltd, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd, Orient Lanka Confectionary Ltd, Synex Holdings  and Synex International Pvt Ltd,  St Theresa Industries (Kenya) Ltd. and Ceylon Agro-Industries Limited.

 

High Commission of Sri Lanka

Nairobi

06 September 2018

 

   

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