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Mrs. Sudharma Girihagama, spouse of Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada appointed to the new steering committee of the Asia Pacific Heads of Missions Spouses Association of Canada

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The new steering committee was appointed during the monthly luncheon meeting consisted of 25 spouses of Heads of Mission Spouses Association’s Asia-Pacific chapter held at the residence of the Ambassador for Japan in Ottawa on 04th October 2019. Prior to Mrs. Girihagama’s appointment, Mrs. Aparna Swarup, spouse of India’s High Commissioner to Canada represented Asia region at the steering committee of Asia Pacific Heads of Missions Spouses Association.

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Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga leads the Sri Lanka delegation to the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly, in Montreal

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, Asoka Girihagama attended the 40th Session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly which was held from 24 September to 4 October 2019 in Montreal, Canada with a delegation of senior officials from Sri Lanka.

In his address at the Plenary on 28th September 2019, Minister Ranatunga, the leader of the Sri Lanka delegation stated that significant progress had been made in the field of aviation in Sri Lanka due to the focus of the Government of Sri Lanka in promoting the aviation sector.

Minister Ranataunga stated that the Government of Sri Lanka had finalized a new National Civil Aviation Policy referred to as the NCAP in March of 2019 which emphasized the commitment of Sri Lanka to the importance of safety and economy of the aviation industry.  He also noted that the ICAO Global Regional Air Navigation Plan would be used as the basis for planning, designing, equipping and managing Sri Lanka’s airspace. Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s airspace would be managed to keep pace with ICAO’s advocated policy of Aviation System Block Upgrade that fulfills the requirements identified by the national air traffic management programmes.

ICAO policies and guidelines on principles of non-discrimination transparency cost-relatedness and consultation with users in the determination of levies fees and charges relating to civil aviation would be incorporated in the NCAP together with the creation of a separate Accident Investigation Bureau along with the recognition of business standards for designation in Bilateral Air Services Agreements.

The Minister noted that Sri Lanka had achieved result well above the global average in the ICAO Safety Oversight Audit in both 2010 and 2018 and that the consistency in safety oversight was a result of the ongoing commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and other stakeholders. He also referred to the 10th ICAN Conference in 2017 which was hosted by Sri Lanka and the 53rd DGCA’s Conference of the Asia Pacific region in 2016.

Read more: Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga leads the Sri Lanka delegation to the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly, in Montreal

 

Sri Lanka says tangible assistance needed to consolidate on Sri Lanka’s restoration of normalcy post 21/4

02-10-2019

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha who is presently leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, met with Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General, Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) and his team and Ms. Michéle Coninsx, Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG) and Executive Director of the Counter- Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week. Ambassador Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, and other senior officials were associated with the Foreign Secretary.

The Secretary thanked the UN and the international community who unreservedly condemned the Easter Sunday attacks, and for supporting the Government in numerous ways. He particularly noted that the recent visit undertaken by the ASG and Executive Director of the CTED, Ms. Michéle Coninsx had provided an opportunity to draw on international best practices in consolidating domestic efforts in countering terrorism and violent extremism among the relevant stakeholders.

Read more: Sri Lanka says tangible assistance needed to consolidate on Sri Lanka’s restoration of normalcy post 21/4

 

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha discusses obstacles placed on Sri Lanka’s Peacekeeping Contribution to the UN

2019-09-30

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha who is presently leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the 74th UN General Assembly Session, on Friday (27th September 2019) met with Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under Secretary General of the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (USSG/UNDPO) at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss obstacles placed on Sri Lanka’s Peacekeeping contribution to the UN.

Upon the Foreign Secretary seeking clarification on the statement made on 25th September 2019 by the Deputy Spokesman of the UN Secretary General relating to Sri Lankan troops deployed for UN Peacekeeping, the Under Secretary General (USG) stated that only 25% of the troops from Sri Lanka presently engaged in peacekeeping operations will be replaced, when they complete their term in Lebanon. These places would be filled through a re-adjustment of existing peacekeepers presently in Lebanon. USG Lacroix confirmed that there will be no further reduction of Sri Lanka Peacekeepers.

Earlier, the Foreign Secretary pointed out that the President of Sri Lanka had appointed Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva as the Army Commander in the context that there were no factually substantiated or proven allegations of human rights violations against him, and by virtue of his being Chief of Staff at the time.

The Secretary observed that the Government of Sri Lanka disputes the credibility of the compiled reports relating to allegations against Lt. Gen. Silva. He recalled that the 2011 Darusman Report was so seriously flawed that the Human Rights Council at the time had rejected to issue it with a formal number, as a UN document.  Further, it was stated that the OHCHR Inquiry Report (OISL) of September 2015 made clear that “it was a human rights investigation and not a criminal investigation” and that “the names provided in the description of the chain of command do not imply criminal responsibility for those particularly alleged violations listed in this report, either as direct responsibility or under command or superior responsibility. Individual criminal responsibility can only be determined by a Court of Law with all necessary due process guaranteed.”  The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) publication of January 2019 was a re-formulation of previously published flawed material. 

He said none of these reports can be taken as substantive as establishing culpability of Lt. Gen. Silva.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as well as the Paranagama Commission reports, which were domestic processes that examined the allegations particularly with regard to the last stages of the conflict, have not found substantive evidence against the conduct of the current Army Commander, who has testified in person before both Commissions.

Read more: Foreign Secretary Aryasinha discusses obstacles placed on Sri Lanka’s Peacekeeping Contribution to the UN

 

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha welcomes proposal for Maldives’ readmission to Commonwealth

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha on Thursday welcomed the proposal for the readmission of the Maldives to the Commonwealth family reiterating that Sri Lanka fully supports the fast track procedure previously applied in the readmission of Gambia, to allow the Maldives to participate fully at CHOGM 2020 in Rwanda.

He made this observation at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting held in New York on 26 September 2019 on the sidelines of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, chaired by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations. Aryasinha said, “as a close neighbor and a fellow South Asian nation, Sri Lanka enjoys strong bilateral ties with the Maldives, and it is gratifying that one of the primary initiatives embarked upon by the new Maldivian administration last year was to convey its intention to re-join the Commonwealth.”

The Foreign Secretary noted that particularly given that the Commonwealth Secretariat had carried out a comprehensive assessment mission in the Maldives in January 2019 resulting in a positive outcome; any perceived obstacles to its re-entry should be seen as mere imperfections that afflict all countries from time to time. He urged that additional hurdles not be placed in their way, which would serve as a disincentive.

Read more: Foreign Secretary Aryasinha welcomes proposal for Maldives’ readmission to Commonwealth

 

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha underscores the relevance of the Bandung Principles as global multilateral mechanisms come under strain

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Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha on 26 September 2019 underscored the relevance of the Bandung Principles at a time when global multilateral mechanisms are under strain, when addressing the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in New York, on the sidelines of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Given that NAM encompasses 55 percent of the world’s population it has a moral duty to give voice to the concerns of the Global South, especially the developing small States.

Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to NAM efforts to address current global challenges that transcend national borders such as conflict, migration, climate change and communicable diseases. Non-traditional security threats such as climate change have emerged not only as an economic and social challenge but as a security threat where societies and countries are made vulnerable due to man-made disasters. While welcoming the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit held at the UN Headquarters on 23 September 2019, Secretary Aryasinha expressed deep concern about the negative impacts of climate change, particularly on island nations such as Sri Lanka. The Foreign Secretary also expressed hope that the upcoming COP25, to be held in Chile would galvanize efforts in combating climate change by meeting the commitments entailed in the Paris Agreement.

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha stated that Sri Lanka attaches importance on combating all forms of racism, hate and violent extremism and that there is a need to focus on the new threats that have emerged, demonstrated by the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. He stressed that such a global menace threatens the security of all nations and cannot be tackled by a single country alone but requires collective efforts and called on NAM to collectively contribute to this global security threat in a constructive and cohesive manner. The Foreign Secretary stated that Sri Lanka believes in a free society where freedom of expression is ensured, however there is a need to be conscious of the growing threat of hate speech and abuse of the internet and social media platforms.

The theme for the Ministerial Meeting was “Upholding principles of sovereignty and political independence as a means to maintain international peace and security and foster friendly relations and cooperation among States” and an outcome document was adopted at the meeting. Sri Lanka is a co-sponsor of the Bandung Conference of 1955 and a founding member of the NAM. The Group has continued to progress over the last six decades and its membership has now surpassed 120 - two-thirds of the membership of the United Nations.

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

New York

26 September 2019

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

Comment of the Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General

Following the statement of the Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General yesterday  (25 September 2019) that the UN Department of Peace Operations has decided to repatriate a  Sri Lankan Army unit and individual officers currently serving with UN Peacekeeping due to concerns on the appointment of Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, the Government of Sri Lanka is in discussion on this issue with the UN.  Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the 74th General Assembly Session is scheduled to discuss this matter with the Under Secretary General of the UN Department of Peace Operations, on Friday, 27 September 2019.

 Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

26 September 2019

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)

 

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