High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations – 21 September 2020

21 sep 2020 unga statement HE the President

We expect the United Nation will place due emphasis on non-interference in domestic affairs of other states, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a pre-recorded statement at the High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations today (21).

“At a time when the world is facing a common and an unrivalled threat, the “United Nations We Need”, I am certain, will place due emphasis on the sovereign equality of States, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in their domestic affairs”, President said.


Interview of State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya on the Government’s initiatives and regional cooperation

02 09 2020 interview of state Minister Tharaka Balasuirya on News 1st Newsline

State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya was interviewed on News 1st NEWSLINE with Faraz Shauketaly on TV1 on 02 September 2020. The State Minister speaks of the Government’s initiatives on the welfare and safe repatriation of Sri Lankans overseas and plans for furthering regional cooperation.

Video Link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ZZwo3u8swHM

Interview of Foreign Secretary Colombage on the Government’s priorities and foreign relations

30 08 2020 foreign secretary admiral prof Jayanath Colombage r

Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage speaks on the Sri Lankan Government’s priorities and the country’s foreign relations at a special interview held on “Irida Ayubowan” programme on Rupavahini on 30 August 2020.

Video Link : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2amcR3tZJ4

Policy Statement made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Inauguration of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament

  • 20 08 2020 president inaugural speech

    I will take the country towards prosperity without succumbing to any force – President

    Public trust on the Government will not be breached

    19thAmendment to be abolished

    New Constitution giving priority to “One Country – One Law”

    Waste and corruption at ministries and pubic institutes will be eradicated

    People’s representatives must go to the public

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa emphasized that he will take the country towards prosperity while safeguarding the people and protecting the sovereignty of the country without succumbing to any force.

People gave a resounding victory to the Government at the recently concluded General Election. The Government aspires to serve the public while ensuring the public trust said the President adding that the trust people placed on him and the Government will not be violated at any cost.

President Rajapaksa made these remarks at the inauguration of the First Session of the 9th Parliament today (20).

The opening ceremony was conducted in a simple manner without any pomp or pageant.

Upon his arrival President was welcomed by the newly appointed Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene and the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dissanayake amidst chanting of Jaya Mangala Gatha by school students.

The period between the Presidential Election and the Parliamentary Election has been very challenging for us, the President said. What we inherited was an economy that had collapsed and we had to face the COVID-19 pandemic that disabled the entire world during that period. At a time when even the most powerful countries in the world were left helpless in the wake of COVID – 19 catastrophe, we were able to successfully face the challenge. Even foreign nations praised our efforts to prevent the spreading of the pandemic, he said.

“The historic mandate received at the election has proven that people are impressed with the way we have governed the country during the past 9 months despite various obstacles,” President added.


State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya reiterates need to strengthen relations with Asian neighbours

19 08 2020 hon state minister

State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya assumed duties at the Foreign Ministry today (19 August). The State Minister was received by Foreign Secretary Admiral (Prof.) Jayanath Colombage and other senior officials, upon his arrival at the Ministry. Religious observances were conducted to invoke blessings prior to the assumption of duties.

State Minister Balasuriya, addressing the gathering of senior officials and staff of the Ministry, following the assumption of duties, highlighted the importance of regional cooperation within Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and the necessity of exploring potential to attract investment to the country through regional cooperation. He reiterated that Sri Lanka will maintain close relations with neighbouring countries, especially within the Asian region with whom Sri Lanka has been maintaining close and friendly ties.


Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena assumes duties

17 08 2020 hon mfa assumes duties

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena assumed duties at the Foreign Ministry on Monday 17 August 2020.

Minister Gunawardena was received by Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and other senior officials upon his arrival at the Ministry. Following multi-religious observances, the Minister officially assumed duties.


New Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage assumes duties

14 08 2020 prof jayanath colombage assumes duties

Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage (PhD) assumed duties as the Secretary to the Foreign Ministry today (14 August) following the appointment to the position by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The new Foreign Secretary Admiral Colombage was warmly received by the senior officials of the Foreign Ministry this morning, upon arrival at the Ministry.

Admiral Colombage was previously Additional Secretary to H.E the President for Foreign Relations since December 2019. In addition, he is presently serving as the Director General of the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka.


Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena sworn in as Foreign Minister

12 08 2020 hon mfa sworn in

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena was sworn in as Foreign Minister at the Magul Maduwa (Audience Hall) of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic premises in Kandy today (12 August).


Effective framework for the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

23 07 2020 sdg framework

The Working Group appointed by Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to assess the current status of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals presented their report to the Minister on Thursday, 23 July 2020.

Presenting the Report, the Chair of the Working Group Ahmed A. Jawad, Additional Secretary, Multilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Relations observed that high-level leadership would be crucial for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals since these Goals are of a cross cutting nature, coming under the purview of multiple agencies and therefore the supervision at the highest possible political level becomes absolutely important.


Foreign Secretary Aryasinha says “future footprint of foreign employment Sri Lanka will provide the world, though probably smaller, could be smarter and more sustainable

1 july 2020 foreign secretary mr ravinatha aryasinha final 

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has observed that despite its immediate gloom, the present situation has been an eye opener in many respects that could help correct structural, procedural and human interface incongruities in Sri Lanka’s labour migration. It also presents an opportunity for Sri Lanka to re-orient foreign employment in a post-Covid-19 world, sensitive to the ground realities in both Sri Lanka and the migrant labour receiving countries, so that the future footprint of Foreign Employment Sri Lanka will provide the world – though probably Smaller, could be Smarter and more Sustainable.

The Foreign Secretary made these observations when he addressed the 33rd Annual Session of the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) via a video link, on the theme “The Role of Foreign Employment in the Economic Revival of Sri Lanka; Challenges and Opportunities”.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated this year’s Annual OPA Session held on 27-28 June 2020 as a Digital Conference,on the theme ‘Bounce Back–Disasters and Opportunities”.


Revised Instructions on PCR testing and Quarantine procedures for DPLs entering Sri Lanka

press release pmdnews

Following the revised instructions issued on 4 June 2020 by the Presidential Secretariat on the PCR testing and quarantine procedures for the members of the Diplomatic corps based/attached in Colombo when they enter/re-enter Sri Lanka in order to prevent and minimize the risk of the spread of the Coronavirus, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, took immediate action to convey the same to all Diplomatic Missions, the Representation Offices of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, International Organizations, Honorary Consulates resident in Colombo through diplomatic channels.


Direct returnees from overseas for quarantine after PCR test results are known – President

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• Everyone will have the opportunity to return to Motherland
• Medi lab at airport premises
• Possibility to conduct PCR tests in relevant countries explored

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed the officials to send returnees from foreign countries for quarantine only after results of PCR tests conducted at the airport itself are known.

President also said to accommodate them at a separate location equipped with all the necessary facilities until the test results are released.

President issued these directives during a discussion with the members of the Task Force entrusted with COVID – 19 control and medical consultants at the Presidential Secretariat today (4).

Issues emerged during the conduct of PCR tests and sending returnees from abroad, especially those who are from Middle East, for quarantine were discussed in depth at the meeting.


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6 post tea board fr6 post tea board en

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Interview of Foreign Secretary on "Get Real" with Mahieash Johnney on Foreign Relations amid COVID - 19 - Ada Derana 24

1 june 2020 Derana interview

YouTube link to the interview of Foreign Secretary on “Get Real“ with Mahieash Johnney on ‘Foreign Relations amid COVID - 19’ telecast on Ada Derana 24 on 01 June 2020.

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

president 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


Celebrates Sustainability Brewed for over 150 years

21 may 2020 international tea day fr21 may 2020 international tea day en

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.


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

17 may 2020 front

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.


Foreign Ministry and Foreign Missions contribute to COVID-19 Fund

16 may 2020 front

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.


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.


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,


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.


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.


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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