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Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner calls on the Chief of Protocol of Canada

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The High Commissioner-designate of Sri Lanka to Canada, Harsha Kumara Navaratne called on the Chief of Protocol of Canada, Stewart Wheeler in Ottawa on 15th October 2021 following his arrival in Canada on 14 October 2021.

The High Commissioner-designate of Sri Lanka, who was warmly welcomed by the Chief of Protocol of Canada, discussed issues of mutual importance and interest.

During the meeting, Mr. Navaratne referred to the speech made by His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka at the United Nations in New York recently, inviting everyone including the international community and all Sri Lankans living abroad to join hands to usher in peace, reconciliation, economic development and prosperity in Sri Lanka. Mr. Navaratne also stated that President Rajapakse had specially invited members of the Sri Lankan diaspora to have a dialogue with him and that he would lead this initiative.

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In response, the Chief of Protocol spoke of the richness of multiculturalism and the contribution made to Canada by people from across the world who have made Canada their home. He also shared details of the various outreach programmes and activities organized by the Office of Protocol for Heads of Missions in Canada and invited Mr. Navaratne to join them.

The High Commissioner-designate thanked the Chief of Protocol for the opportunity and concluded by adding that he looked forward to further enhancing the warm ties shared between the two countries during his tenure in Canada.

 

Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa

15 October 2021

 

Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada assumes duties

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The newly appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Mr. Harsha Kumara Navaratne assumed duties at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa on 15th October 2021. He was received upon arrival at the High Commission by the members of the staff.

Addressing the staff of the High Commission upon assumption of duties, High Commissioner-designate Mr. Navaratne outlined his priorities in Canada and the need to enhance political, economic and people to people ties. He also spoke of the importance in building on the reconciliation efforts underway in Sri Lanka and the need to work with all communities of Sri Lankan heritage. 

Continuing his remarks, Mr. Navaratne mentioned that the doors of the High Commission remains open to anyone looking for assistance and that all were committed to working actively in order to carry out their duties in their efforts to serve the people.

He outlined the need to highlight the potential available in Sri Lanka in order to encourage more trade and investment from Canada. 

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The High Commissioner-designate also stated that the President of Sri Lanka had a new approach to promote Sri Lanka as a brand in North America in order to have mutual benefit. He also stated that as the West was focusing on Asia, Sri Lanka could be the peaceful entry into South, South East and East Asia. High Commissioner-designate Navaratne also stated that once he presents credentials, he would be traveling across Canada to meet like-minded groups in order to enhance cooperation and coordination. 

His assumption of duties was marked by a simple ceremony organized by the staff of the High Commission along with milk rice and refreshments in keeping with Sri Lankan tradition. Mrs. D. A. K. Navaratne, spouse and Mrs. T. L Navaratne, the youngest daughter of the High Commissioner-designate, were also present on the occasion. 

High Commissioner-designate Mr. Navaratne has an illustrious and multifaceted career during which he has served as the Founder and Chairperson, Sevalanka Foundation, Commissioner, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Chairperson, International Network of Engaged Buddhist (INEB), Headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, Executive Member of Peace Prize Committee Niwano Peace Foundation, Tokyo, Japan and Film Producer.

                                    

Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa


15 October 2021

The newly appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Mr. Harsha Kumara Navaratne assumed duties at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa on 15th October 2021. He was received upon arrival at the High Commission by the members of the staff.
Addressing the staff of the High Commission upon assumption of duties, High Commissioner-designate Mr. Navaratne outlined his priorities in Canada and the need to enhance political, economic and people to people ties. He also spoke of the importance in building on the reconciliation efforts underway in Sri Lanka and the need to work with all communities of Sri Lankan heritage.
Continuing his remarks, Mr. Navaratne mentioned that the doors of the High Commission remains open to anyone looking for assistance and that all were committed to working actively in order to carry out their duties in their efforts to serve the people.
He outlined the need to highlight the potential available in Sri Lanka in order to encourage more trade and investment from Canada.
The High Commissioner-designate also stated that the President of Sri Lanka had a new approach to promote Sri Lanka as a brand in North America in order to have mutual benefit. He also stated that as the West was focusing on Asia, Sri Lanka could be the peaceful entry into South, South East and East Asia. High Commissioner-designate Navaratne also stated that once he presents credentials, he would be traveling across Canada to meet like-minded groups in order to enhance cooperation and coordination.
His assumption of duties was marked by a simple ceremony organized by the staff of the High Commission along with milk rice and refreshments in keeping with Sri Lankan tradition. Mrs. D. A. K. Navaratne, spouse and Mrs. T. L Navaratne, the youngest daughter of the High Commissioner-designate, were also present on the occasion.
High Commissioner-designate Mr. Navaratne has an illustrious and multifaceted career during which he has served as the Founder and Chairperson, Sevalanka Foundation, Commissioner, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Chairperson, International Network of Engaged Buddhist (INEB), Headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, Executive Member of Peace Prize Committee Niwano Peace Foundation, Tokyo, Japan and Film Producer.
Sri Lanka High Commission
Ottawa
15 October 2021
 

MALAYSIA AND SRI LANKA TO ENHANCE COOPERATION IN THE FIELDS OF DIGITALIZATION AND EDUCATION

High Commissioner of Malaysia to Colombo Tan Yang Thai paid a Courtesy Call on Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Foreign Ministry on the 14 October 2021. While recalling the close and friendly bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Foreign Minister and the High Commissioner discussed further avenues to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the post Covid -19 era.

Stating Sri Lanka was among the first to recognize Malaysia’s independence back in 1957, and the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2017, the High Commissioner expressed his strong desire to re-enact partnerships in several areas, including the restoration of the air connectivity to its fullest capacity and facilitate strong people to people interaction between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Peiris underlining strong bilateral partnership between the two countries emphasized the need of building further collaborations in the areas that are beneficial to both countries. Minister Peiris highly commended the enormous progress that Malaysia recorded in the field of digitalization. He identified digitalization as an area that the Government intends to achieve rapid progress over several key areas in the public sector including administration, court proceedings, education, health, etc. The Minister expressed Sri Lanka’s desire to look at the experiences of Malaysia in this field and adopt certain aspects as per the needs of the country.

During the discussion, Minister Peiris also praised the education system in Malaysia, where Malaysian Universities with the collaboration of reputed foreign Universities, offer diversified courses for students to continue their higher studies without migrating to foreign countries. Underlining the inadequacy of infrastructure in higher education and technical education, and the urgent need of broadening the vocational training in Sri Lanka, Minister Prof. Peiris identified this as an area of cooperation that both countries could progress.

Senior officials of the Foreign Ministry and the High Commission of Malaysia in Colombo were also present at the meeting.

Foreign Ministry

Colombo

15 October, 2021

(https://mfa.gov.lk/malaysia-sl/)

 

SRI LANKA AND ALGERIA DISCUSS ENHANCEMENT OF POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TIES AT FIRST EVER BILATERAL CONSULTATIONS

Sri Lanka held for the very first time Foreign Ministry Level Virtual Bilateral Consultations with the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on 12 October 2021. Discussions focused on strengthening political, economic, social and cultural ties.

In keeping with the Government policy of further expanding ties with the African Region, closer engagement with Algeria which is the lead economy in North Africa is envisaged.

The two sides noted that the total trade last year stood USD 5.39 million and Sri Lanka’s exports to Algeria amounted to only USD 0.63 million while Sri Lanka’s imports from Algeria amounted to USD 4.76 million. As a major exporter of petroleum and LP gas, the trade relations with Algeria have mainly been in the energy sector. However, potential to further increase exports particularly tea, spices, coconut products and apparel were explored. A virtual meeting with the Chambers of Commerce of both countries is expected to take this process forward.

Recalling the long standing bilateral relations, the two sides agreed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in a fitting manner next year. Algeria announced that it will host the next NAM Summit in Algiers in 2022 and recalled that both countries are founding members of the Non Aligned Movement and continue to work closely at the multilateral level.

The two countries expressed keen interest to focus bilateral cooperation in the environment and climate change, power & energy and tourism sectors. Further strengthening defence and counter terrorism cooperation were also discussed.

The Sri Lanka Delegation was led by Director General Africa Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry B. Kandeepan and the Algeria delegation was led by Director General of the Asia Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria Boumedien Guennad. The Ambassador of Sri Lanka accredited to Algeria from Cairo, the Ambassador of Algeria accredited to Sri Lanka from New Delhi and senior officials of both Foreign Ministries joined the virtual consultations.

Foreign Ministry

Colombo

14 October 2021

(https://mfa.gov.lk/sl-algeria/)

 

SRI LANKA PARTICIPATES IN THE 6TH MINISTERIAL MEETING OF CICA

Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, delivering the country statement virtually at the Sixth Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Conference of Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), re-emphasized Sri Lanka’s continued engagement and close cooperation with the 27 - member regional body in achieving its goals for common benefit. The 6th CICA Ministerial meeting was held on the 12 October 2021 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in a hybrid format.

Elaborating on the need for a collaborative approach to overcome the challenges posed by the Pandemic, Foreign Secretary Colombage also stressed Sri Lanka’s commitment to play a key role in the revival of the tourism Foreign Secretary in the CICA region. He also shared information regarding the success of the national vaccination drive and thanked the international partners for supporting Sri Lanka in various forms to fight the pandemic.

CICA is a multinational forum of twenty-seven Member States, formed for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security, and stability in Asia. Sri Lanka obtained full membership of the CICA in 2018 and currently serves as the co-coordinator for the confidence-building measures in Tourism.

Full statement delivered by Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage is given below:

Foreign Ministry

Colombo

13 October 2021

(https://mfa.gov.lk/cica-slfs/)

 

FOREIGN MINISTER PROF. G. L. PEIRIS ADDRESSES THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY AT FOREIGN MINISTRY

Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris addressed the diplomatic community at the Foreign Ministry auditorium on 13 October 2021. The Colombo-based diplomatic community was present at the meeting which was conducted under the approved COVID-19 related guidelines.

At the outset the Minister appreciated his first opportunity to meet with the entire diplomatic corps collectively following his assumption of duties as Foreign Minister some weeks ago.  Due to the previously prevailing COVID-19 situation, such a meeting could not take place earlier as he would have wished, the Minister stated. The objective of the meeting was to cordially brief the diplomatic community on recent developments of interest to them.

The Minister stated that he was pleased to report that the COVID-19 situation in the country had improved, following a very successful vaccination effort. Despite severe challenges, over 70% of the population has now been fully vaccinated allowing for the gradual opening up of the country. The Minister sought the cooperation of the diplomatic community in the resumption of tourism and economic activity. The Minister expressed his appreciation to the diplomatic community for their support and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis including to all UN agencies as well as donors and Colombo–based multilateral financial institutions.

Minister Peiris also briefed the diplomatic community on his recent overseas engagements, including at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and during his visit to New York, accompanying the President when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. At the UNGA, Sri Lanka stood in solidarity with global efforts to address pressing issues which required a collective approach from all countries big and small. In the next major international engagement which will be the COP 26 in Glasgow where the Minister will accompany the President, Sri Lanka as a climate vulnerable country, will further reiterate its commitments in this regard.

The Minister also recalled his statement to the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council following the presentation of the Oral update on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, where he outlined Sri Lanka’s ongoing cooperation with the Council as well as the progress made on reconciliation and human rights through domestic institutions.  Further updating the diplomatic community in this regard, he stated that Sri Lanka is open in acknowledging the challenges faced  and will engage in candid discussions in this regard, both domestically with representatives of civil society as well as with the our international partners including the UN. However Sri Lanka rejects the establishment of an external mechanism when domestic processes were ongoing. The Minister also shared information relating to progress on the process of Constitutional reform and the Provincial Council elections.

The Minister further referred to the recent visits from the EU, in the context of the Joint Commission as well as to review the implementation of the GSP plus.  The Minister expressed satisfaction that the discussions were held in a cordial manner and that officials have taken note of outstanding matters.  The Minister recalled that the continuation of GSP plus is vital for the Sri Lankan economy, not only in the apparel sector, but also in other areas of bilateral trade. He stated that Sri Lanka’s efforts to achieve the SDGs as well as uplift the lives of our people require cooperation from all our international partners. COVID-19 dealt a significant blow to our plans and we need to recover.

The members of the diplomatic community thanked the Minister for his engagement and appreciated the opportunity provided to engage on issues of interest to them. Minister Peiris concluded the meeting by stating his intention to have regular interactions with the diplomatic community.

Foreign Ministry

Colombo

13 October, 2021

(https://mfa.gov.lk/fm-sl-diplomatic-community/)

 

SINGAPOREANS DONATE COVID 19 RELATED MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO SRI LANKA

The Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore in collaboration with the Religious Advisor of the Maha Karuna Buddhist Society of Singapore Ven. Dr. K. Gunaratana Thero obtained donations of COVID 19 related medical equipment from Henry Baey and a group of Singaporean well wishers which included 250 Oxygen Concentrators. A further donation of 20 Oxygen concentrators by Raquel Ruhie Takahashi was also received.

The donation from Singapore was handed over at a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo. Honorary Consul General of Singapore to Sri Lanka Jayantha Dharmadasa handed over the donation to Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage. The donation was thereafter handed over to State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana and Secretary of the State Ministry Dr. R.M.S.K. Rathnayake.

Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore made arrangements to send the donation which was air transported by courtesy of Sri Lankan Airlines.

Foreign Ministry

Colombo

08 October, 2021

(https://mfa.gov.lk/singapore-donate-sl/)

 

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