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Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage formally handed over two ventilators (VG70 Ventilator and Vivo 65 advanced homecare ventilator) donated by the Government of Israel  to Secretary of the Ministry of Health Major General Dr. S.H. Munasinghe at the Foreign Ministry today, 24 December 2020.

The two ventilators were donated through the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, which is concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka. Following the donation on 10 December 2020, Foreign Secretary Colombage, extended Sri Lanka’s gratitude to the Government of Israel during a virtual meeting with the Ambassador of Israel to Sri Lanka resident in New Delhi Dr. Ron Malka. During this virtual meeting both parties also discussed avenues for future cooperation in many fields including Agriculture, IT, Science & Technology and Skills Development.

The two ventilators which will be utilized, will contribute to supporting the health sector and treating many COVID-19 patients in intensive care units who are most in need.

The Honorary Consul for Israel in Colombo Wicky Wikramasinghe and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Health also attended the event.

Foreign Ministry

24 December 2020


Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena meets with the Ambassadors of the Netherlands and Turkey

2020-12-23-2   2020-12-23-3


Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met with Ambassador of the Netherlands Tanja Gonggrijp and Ambassador of Turkey R. Demet Sekercioglu on 22 December 2020 and discussed several areas of ongoing cooperation.

The Foreign Minister appreciated the generous assistance provided by the Government of the Netherlands to upgrade hospitals in the Northern Province and Kalutara District.  Discussion also took place on ongoing assistance from the Netherlands in the construction of bridges in rural areas, water treatment plants, vocational training and restoration work at archeological sites. Foreign Minister Gunawardena also appreciated the assistance being provided for the digitization of archival documents.

The Foreign Minister noted the significant growth of exports from Sri Lanka to the Netherlands and expressed the keen interest to further strengthen economic ties and tourism. The Minister observed that relations between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands have grown into a multifaceted partnership.

While talking with the Ambassador of Turkey R. Demet Sekercioglu, Minister Gunawardena appreciated the generous COVID-19 related assistance of Turkey.  The Minister also appreciated that despite the COVID-19 related challenges Turkish Airlines has continued to operate regular weekly flights to Sri Lanka, thereby strengthening connectivity between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Gunawardena noted the potential to further enhance trade and investment and to further strengthen cooperation at the international level. The Foreign Minister welcomed the prospect of high level visits from Turkey and the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation.

Foreign Ministry

23 December 2020




His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has stated that if the ecosystem is protected, the country's water resources will become a major source of income for the country in the future. The Cardinal stated this when addressing Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who paid a courtesy call at his official residence today (22) to offer greetings to His Eminence for the upcoming Christmas season.

“Our country is being deforested on a large scale by now. It has to stop and the government should take necessary steps to formulate a programme to protect forests in accordance with the Constitution itself. Laws should be enacted to severely punish those who destroy the flora in this country. If the ecosystem of the country could be protected by doing so, our water resources would be in great demand, in future world water shortages” the Cardinal said.

Commenting on this, the Minister said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s programme is dedicated to rescue cities from being oxygen deficient and that environment friendly activities are included in the village-by-village development programme. Member of Parliament Yadamini Gunawardena was also present on this occasion.

Foreign Ministry

22 December 2020



The procedure for inbound travellers to Sri Lanka, introduced since March 2020 is hereby revised as follows, based on the joint decision made by the Foreign Ministry, the Department of Immigration and the Civil Aviation Authority and as agreed by the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation.

The following procedure will take effect from 26 December 2020.

  1. The Government of Sri Lanka (Foreign Ministry and National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) will arrange special repatriation flights for the Government quarantine facilities in coordination with Sri Lanka Missions abroad for migrant workers, students, patients, short term visa holders, government and military officials,
  2. i. However, Sri Lankans or Foreigners of Sri Lankan origin (Holders of Dual Citizenship) will be allowed to travel on any commercial/non-repatriation flights to Sri Lanka without the approval of the Foreign Secretary (or) Civil Aviation Authority subject to the limit of passengers per flight determined by the Civil Aviation Authority, based on concurrence/consultation of NOCPCO subject to compliance with paid quarantining at a designated hotel.

ii.  It is the sole responsibility of the Airline concerned to ensure that the passengers allowed on board under the above arrangement will strictly adhere to the paid quarantine.

The revision of procedure for inbound travellers will be subject to review based on further assessments made on new guidelines.


Foreign Ministry

21 December 2020




Ambassador of the Holy See (Vatican) Archbishop Brian Ngozi Udaigwe called on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry recently.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena referred to the close and cordial relations between Sri Lanka and the Holy See and recalled the visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka. The Foreign Minister appreciated assistance provided by the Holy See and the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka in the field of education, poverty alleviation and social services. He also appreciated the generous development assistance provided by Caritas.

Foreign Minister Gunawardena also discussed closer cooperation between the two countries at international level on environmental issues and challenges faced by developing countries in the COVID-19 context.

The Foreign Minister informed that the Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has taken immediate action to concurrently accredit the Sri Lanka Ambassador in Geneva to the Holy See. It was noted that since 2018 there has been no accredited Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Holy See. The Ambassador appreciated the decision of the Government to restore the concurrent accreditation.

The Foreign Minister expressed the hope that exchange of high level visits between Sri Lanka and the Vatican could take place in the future.

Foreign Ministry

20 December 2020




Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was invited by the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu to represent Sri Lanka at the Global Business Summit 2020 on 16 December 2020. The summit was co-hosted by the Governments of Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.

Addressing the Summit under e-Governance and Cyber Security, Foreign Minister Gunawardena highlighted that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has envisioned a people-centric and knowledge-driven new beginning for Sri Lanka, recognizing that the 21st Century was defined by knowledge and innovation. The Foreign Minister provided an overview of Sri Lanka’s digital government architecture designed to address the needs of multiple layers of customers whilst ensuring that such services were effective, transparent and corruption, free. He noted that work was already underway to develop the Unique Digital ID relating to biographic and biometric data, the centerpiece of a citizen- centric digital regime, earmarked for completion by mid - 2021. Services covered by e-governance would be in the education, health, transportation, immigration and emigration, registration of persons and companies, motor traffic, income tax and local government sectors. He also underlined that e-governance, e-commerce and e-medicine and such digitalization, would define the ‘New Normal’ in the post COVID-19 global landscape.

Highlighting that Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to become a state party to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, Minister Gunawardena shared that the Sri Lanka Centre for Cyber Security (CERT) in consultation with ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has issued mandatory Cyber Security Guidelines for Work From Home (WFH), as the transition had led to a surge in cyber-attacks, phishing scams and such malicious activity. CERT and ICTA continued to monitor and strengthen its Cyber Security eco system through international cooperation, while partnering with foreign governments and agencies to build capacity and create a competent cyber security workforce, both in the public and private sectors.

The Global Business Summit 2020 brought together Governments and businesses to find solutions to the complex global challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Keynote addresses were made by co-hosts, Foreign ministers Urmas Reinsalu of Estonia and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyanof the United Arab Emirates, WHO Director General Dr. TedrosAdhanom Ghebreyesus, Rt. Hon. Tony Blair-Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and former UK Prime Minister, among others. The virtual conference was viewed by around 30,000 worldwide, with the participation of high level dignitaries from Japan, Spain, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Hungary, Singapore, Poland and forty countries in total.

Video Link

Foreign Ministry

20 December 2020




Ambassador of Indonesia in Colombo I. Gusti Ngurah Ardiyasa paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry on 17 December 2020.  During the discussions, the two dignitaries emphasized the need to further enhance trade ties in a mutually beneficial manner.

While reiterating the long-standing, multifaceted ties between the two countries, Minister Gunawardena appreciated the strong friendship and assistance rendered by Indonesia during the difficult times faced by Sri Lanka in the past.

The Ambassador acknowledged the bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between the two countries at bilateral, regional and multilateral platforms and expressed hope that the current ties would further expand and deepen into sectors of contemporary importance.  He underscored the need for enhanced cooperation in the areas of illicit trafficking, cooperation against trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and marine and fisheries cooperation and on voluntary international cooperation to present illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing which promotes sustainable fisheries governance.

Ambassador Ardiyasa expressed his gratitude towards the Government of Sri Lanka for the assistance rendered towards the repatriation of Indonesian nationals in the recent past, during the height of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sri Lanka and Indonesia have been long standing trading partners. The total trade turnover between Sri Lanka and Indonesia has been increasing since 2017.  In 2019, the value of Sri Lanka’s exports to Indonesia increased by 9.54% on year on year basis. The value of imports which account 427.55 US$ Mn in 2018 increased marginally to 428.27 US$ Mn in 2019. Indonesia was the 45th export market for Sri Lanka with a share of 0.33% in 2019. Apparel was the dominant export item from Sri Lanka to Indonesia, which accounts 19.56% of total exports to Indonesia in 2019. Indonesia was the 9th import partner of Sri Lanka with a share of 2.2% in 2019.

Cement was the major import item from Indonesia to Sri Lanka which accounts for 11.05% of total imports from Indonesia in 2019.  In terms of the growing demand pattern in Indonesia and considering the sustainable supply capacities of Sri Lanka, products such as cinnamon, cloves, black tea, tea, rubber tyres can be further expanded in Indonesia. Sri Lanka has signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty with Indonesia on 10 June 1996 and it entered into force on 21 July 1997. Sri Lanka signed a double taxation avoidance agreement with Indonesia on 03 February 1993 and it was implemented in Sri Lanka from 1995/1996. Indonesia ranked as the 34th investment partner of Sri Lanka in 2019.

Sri Lanka shares an extensive relationship with Indonesia which goes back in time when recorded history commenced. Pre-colonial historical records note that Vijayotunga, King of Sri Vijaya Empire, had close connections with the Sri Lankan King Vijayabahu (1055-1110) particularly during invasions by Chola in the line of establishing trade links between the two regimes. History further refers that Sri Lankan Kings Kasyapa and Mahendrahad had close connection with Java. The religious link was much greater and the influence of Sri Lankan craftsmen is clearly visible in the sedentary Buddha images found in Java and in Celebes and Borobudhur in Jogjakarta particularly in their simplicity, and the dignified elegant evocation of the concept of the Samadhi Buddha Statue. Special religious connections were maintained by the Sri Lankan King Parakramabahu VI (1411-1466) during the Kingdom of Kotte.

The Ambassador was accompanied by the First Secretary of the Embassy of Indonesia. The Meeting was attended by officials of the Southeast Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry

19 December 2020




Ambassador of Thailand in Sri Lanka Chulamanee Chartsuwan paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 17 December 2020 and discussed ways of working closely in regional and international fora with a view to facilitating enhanced business cooperation.

Thai Ambassador further reiterated that both countries have taken a common position in BIMSTEC and is looking forward to working with Sri Lanka and hopeful that the Summit will be held soon in Colombo.

Trade and investment policies in the present day in Thailand open up investment opportunities for Sri Lanka. The Ambassador noted that Thailand investors are keen to commence an investment project on sugar plantation in Vavuniya, which is underway.

Ambassador Chartsuwan further noted that during the visit of Prime Minister of Thailand General Prayut Chan-o-cha in July 2018, the MOU on Strategic Economic Partnership (SEP) was signed. This cooperation underlines 10 sectors such as infrastructure, agro industry, fisheries, gems and jewellery, tourism, SMEs, financial cooperation, packaging industries, IT sector development and other sectors of mutual economic interest.

Minister Gunawardena stated that Sri Lanka will make the maximum use of the Strategic Economic Partnership to widen the business links between Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Foreign Ministry

19 December 2020


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