Message of H.E.the President on the occasion of Ramazan

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Message

My heartiest greetings to all Muslims in Sri Lanka, who celebrate the Ramazan or Eid-ul-fitr together with the Islam devotees around the World.

Ramazan or Eid-ul-fitr is one of the most important festivals in the Islamic religious calendar observed by the Muslim community after a month of fasting, and sighting of the crescent moon.

Sawm or the fasting during the month of Ramazan better known as one of Five Pillars of Islam conveys the message of importance of adhering to an exemplary practice while abstaining from physical luxuries. This period of abstinence is a great opportunity to develop a sensitivity towards the starving people in the world as well as to practice the ability of self-control.

The Ramazan rituals show that one could create a peaceful living environment in an era like this, when the entire world is facing a highly complex crisis hitherto not existed in the history, only through being conscious of others’ sentiments, while being inclined to achieve self-control in all spheres. The spirit of Islamic brotherhood existed in the Sri Lankan society since ancient times is exemplary to the world. We should never allow any harm to that brotherhood due to acts of a small number of extremists. The true Islamic devotees believe that the extremist beliefs are against the core values of Islam. Hence, I believe that we should strongly commit to follow the teachings of the Holy Quran while eliminating the mistrust and suspicion during this period of Ramazan.

I extend my best wishes to all Islam devotees in Sri Lanka as well as around the world and may the spirit of the month of Ramazan heal the world.

 

                May 23rd, 2020                                                                                                                  Gotabaya Rajapaksa

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Celebrates Sustainability Brewed for over 150 years

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Various tea producing countries were celebrating a tea day of their own, some classified as Black Tea Day and some categorized as Green Tea Day depending on the importance to each industry. The day was different from country to country. Sri Lanka and India used to celebrate 10th of December. However with the initiative of China who is making huge strides in the World Tea Industry, United Nations General Assembly declared 21st of May as the International Tea Day. The Food & Agricultural Organisation Inter Governmental Group (FAO/IGG) supported this new idea of China to consolidate the date. The year 2020, is going to be the first occasion to celebrate the International Tea Day. Due to the Corona Virus pandemic attacking the entire world, the event will not consist of outside celebrations or even indoor programs due to the necessity for social distancing and staying safely indoors as much as possible. Thus, it goes without saying that all commemorations needs to be through Social and Digital Media  creating a token ceremonial platform in the tea producing and tea consuming countries the world over.

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Foreign Secretary appeals to OSLs to rethink plans to be repatriated unless in compelling circumstances

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has called on migrant workers as well as students and parents, to carefully calibrate the effect repatriation at this time could have on their jobs and education, before making decisions to seek to return to Sri Lanka, availing of the limited flights being operated by the Government for those facing compelling circumstances. He made this observation yesterday (16 May 2020) in an appearance on the ‘News at 9’ on Sri Lanka Rupavahini, where he noted that over 38,000 Sri Lankans are seeking to be repatriated, of that nearly 28,000 migrant workers. The comments made by the Secretary are below;

Priority right now of the Government following the Cabinet Paper presented by my Minister Dinesh Gunawardena two weeks ago, is to bring back the migrant worker category which needs to come, but more so in some cases have to come. Because they have gone out of status and are illegal, they also as a result of being illegal do not have access to the health facilities and anything else in those countries. There are many who have been thrown out of jobs. They are pretty much destitute. Thereafter we can consider those who want to come, but who have jobs and who simply want to come on holiday to avoid any Corona vulnerability.

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Over 38,000 Sri Lankans in 143 countries seek to return home

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Over 38,983 Overseas Sri Lankans (OSLs) in 143 countries at present seek to return home, based on information gathered mainly through the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Web Portal of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. This comprises 3,078 students, 4,040 short term visa holders, 27,854 Migrant workers, 3527 dependents and 484 duel citizens and others. Meanwhile since 21 April, up to now, 3600 OSLs have been repatriated from 15 countries, largely comprising foreign students and government officials on training, as well as their dependents.

Recognizing the need to collect data on vulnerable OSLs, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, with the assistance of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), on 26 March 2020 created the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Web Portal, within a week following closure of the airport to inbound commercial flights. In parallel to the Portal, Sri Lanka Missions were also instructed to collect data on those who wish to return. The two sources, serve as the base for identifying vulnerable groups, prioritizing and repatriation.

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Foreign Ministry and Foreign Missions contribute to COVID-19 Fund

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The Ministry of Foreign Relations handed over Rs. 27.7 million to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday (May 14th), raised through the network of Sri Lanka Missions overseas, to support COVID-19 Health Care and Social Security Fund.

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha handed over the cheque to the President, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena at the Presidential Secretariat.

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H.E. the President's Vesak Message

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The Buddhists in Sri Lanka, together with fellow Buddhist brethren the world over, celebrate the Vesak, their supreme religious festival, with much religious fervour and enthusiasm. Since ancient times, it has been the practice to spend the period of Vesak indulging in religious observances with the fervent veneration of the Buddha.

This year, like the rest of the world Buddhist community, we too have to perform the religious practices of Vesak in the backdrop of a virus pandemic threatening the entire human race. Such calamities are not very rare in the human history. During the lifetime of the Buddha, the Visala Mahanuwara of Dmbbadiva was threatened by three fears. It was ended when a recitation of Buddhist stanzas was conducted as discoursed by the Buddha. I am confident that we too could attain physical and spiritual health by practicing the teachings of the Buddha during this season of Vesak.

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Statement by H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the online Summit Of the Non-Aligned Movement under the theme ‘United Against Covid-19” 4th May 2020

Your Excellencies,

Ayubowan!

Good Evening!

At the outset, I congratulate His Excellency Ilam Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, the Chair of the Non Aligned Movement, for the timely initiative to hold this Summit, to address one of the most critical challenges the world has faced in modern times.

I am pleased to be participating at this Summit, in support of global solidarity, unity and renewed multi-lateral cooperation in overcoming COVID -19. Sri Lanka firmly believes that this Summit will serve as an important platform for the NAM Member States to support collective global action in combating this deadly virus and sharing best practices and lessons learnt.

I extend my deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic and express deep appreciation to the frontline healthcare and essential workers, both in Sri Lanka and globally, for their dedication and selfless commitment.

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Message of H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, on International Workers’ Day

I wish to make use of this occasion of the International Workers’ Day to salute and pay my respect to the working masseswho are making boundless sacrifices in the face of challenges before the nation caused by COVID – 19 outbreak.


Many were the challenges we faced and overcame throughout history. In each such instance, working class in the country is the segment that was directly affected and at the forefront. History has proven their resilience and commitment, which, indeed is a great credit to the working class. It is certain that we will win the battle against COVID – 19 as we had conquered all the difficulties in the past,hand in hand with the working class.

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Sri Lanka Missions abroad seek to re-position Sri Lanka’s exports to meet market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 crisis

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has observed that even as the Foreign Ministry was preoccupied with endeavouring to mitigate a multitude of problems faced by Overseas Sri Lankans, it was in parallel also seeking to re-position Sri Lanka’s exports in the context of market conditions that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. He said if this was successful, Sri Lanka would emerge one step ahead in the global supply chain, in a post COVID-19 world.

The Foreign Secretary made these observations earlier this week in an appearance on the Sri Lanka Rupavahini’s ‘Ethera Methara’ programme. Commenting on the efforts by Sri Lanka’s network of 67 Missions and Consulate-General Offices abroad in promoting Sri Lanka’s exports during these constrained times, he said the Ministry’s traditional ‘Economic Diplomacy Programme’ led by the Economic Affairs Division, has been modified to accommodate the changed circumstances.

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Sri Lanka expresses solidarity with families of foreign nationals on the devastating loss of loved ones

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In a post earlier today to Missions in Sri Lanka and abroad on the one-year anniversary of the suicide attacks on Easter Sunday, 21st April 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Relations observed:

“On this day, Sri Lanka remembers all those lives lost and changed forever in barbaric acts of violence one year ago. We share the grief of families who lost their loved ones and stand in solidarity with those countries which lost their nationals”.

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Sri Lanka remembers all those lives lost on 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday attacks

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On this day, Sri Lanka remembers all those lives lost and changed forever in barbaric acts of violence one year ago. We share the grief of families who lost their loved ones and stand in solidarity with those countries which lost their nationals.

මීට වසරකට පෙර සිදුකළ ම්ලේච්ඡ ප්‍රචණ්ඩ ක්‍රියාවලින් අහිමි වූ හා සදහටම වෙනස් වූ සියලුම ජීවිත ශ්‍රී ලංකාව අද දින සිහිපත් කරයි. තම ආදරණීයයන් අහිමි වූ පවුල්වල ශෝකය අපි බෙදා හදා ගන්නා අතර, තම ජාතිකයන් අහිමි වූ අනෙකුත් රටවල් සමඟ එක්ව කටයුතු කරන්නෙමු.

ஓராண்டிற்கு முன்னர் வன்முறைகளில் இழந்த, பாதிப்புற்ற அனைவரையும் இன்றைய தினம் இலங்கை நினைவு கூர்கின்றது. தமது உறவுகளையிழந்த குடும்பங்களின் துன்பங்களை நாம் பகிர்ந்து கொள்வதுடன், தமது பிரஜைகளையிழந்த நாடுகளுடன் துணை நிற்கின்றோம்

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Foreign Ministry and Foreign Employment Bureau team up to step up efforts to assist Sri Lankans in the Middle East

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Sri Lanka Missions in the Middle East have reported that the welfare measures for migrant workers in the Middle East have received an added boost this week, following the decision by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to make available resources from the Workers’ Welfare Fund, originally confined to those registered with the Bureau, to all migrant workers irrespective of their registration status, through units within Sri Lanka Missions abroad in 16 stations. This is in addition to funds already allocated by the Foreign Ministry and services provided by Missions in collaboration with local Sri Lankan associations and religious establishments across the world in 67 cities. The Foreign Ministry has also sought an additional allocation from the Treasury to meet the increasing needs of all Overseas Sri Lankans, presently amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, to increase the efforts of distribution of dry rations. This is to help overcome immediate difficulties experienced by the migrants who are unable to return to Sri Lanka, in view of the present closure of the airports in Sri Lanka for arrival, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ceylon Black Tea: World's finest

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IS BLACK TEA AN IMMUNITY BOOSTER FOR COVID- 19?

Is there any silver lining in the dark cloud for ‘Ceylon Tea’? The Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka (TRI) has released a scientific paper under the theme: ‘Anti-viral’ properties of tea - black tea may become the unique brew of choice with no side effects to fight against Corona Virus? ".

Low incidence of infected patients:

Sri Lankans habitually consume 03 to 04 cups of Ceylon Black Tea. Therefore, in addition to epidemic control measures and social distancing and hot local temperatures (between 26°C-32°C), the practice of drinking tea may also contribute to the low incidence of infected patients with coronavirus. The infected case and the cases per million people in Sri Lanka are comparatively low. It could be due to a combination of multiple reasons, which certainly requires in-depth investigation.

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Sinhala and Tamil New Year message of H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka

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New Year Message

             I wish the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival, which is the most splendid cultural extravaganza of the nation, to be a peaceful, a joyful, a prosperous as well as a healthy period for every citizen of our country.

         The Sinhala and Tamil New Year that dawns with the transition of the Sun can be considered as a period of cheerfulness, harmony and development of mutual relationships. Nevertheless, a virus that has spread across the world has entered our Motherland, and as a result, presently we are facing the most devastating situation since the era of our ancestors.    

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Easter message of H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka

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The Christian community of Sri Lanka, together with their brethren all over the world celebrates Easter, the commemoration day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, with utmost devotion.

The intend of the devoted commemoration is to purify the mind and soul. The Christian devotees spend the lent period indulging in religious activities recalling the crucifixion, suffering, sacrifice, the death and resurrection of Jesus. I believe that peace and harmony attained in the mind due to these pious activities help the Christian community to spread the message of love, peace and harmony among the brethren in the country.

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Minister Dinesh Gunawardena explores possibilities to assist Sri Lankan Migrant workers

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Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, Dinesh Gunawardena met with the Secretaries and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), today (10 April 2020), at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, to discuss ramifications emanating from the present Coronavirus pandemic to Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad and to explore possible mechanisms to assist these Sri Lankans.

Minister Gunawardena referring to approximately over 1 million Sri Lankan migrant workers, who are employed largely in the Middle East, South East Asia, East Asia, Europe, and Africa regions stated that the interests of these Sri Lankans need to be looked into by the two Ministries. During the meeting, he specifically drew the attention of the senior officials to the needs of the migrant workers, who are employed in the Gulf region. Minister Gunawardena said that measures taken by the host countries in this region to curb the spread of the Coronavirus has adversely affected the migrant workers and instructed senior officials to explore solutions to these implications.

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

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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 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY1eD5c__h4

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

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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

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“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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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COVID – 19 Fund increases further

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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

31.03.2020

 

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.

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

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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 www.mfa.gov.lk and can also be accessed at www.contactsrilanka.mfa.gov.lk. A dedicated team of officials have been assigned by the Ministry of Foreign Relations to respond to queries.

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