Cabinet of Ministers approves draft legislation enabling the issuance of Certificates of Absence


Today, June 7th, the Cabinet of Ministers approved draft legislation enabling the issuance of Certificates of Absence. The draft legislation which involves an amendment to the Registration of Deaths (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 19 of 2010 will now be gazetted and the process of presentation to Parliament will commence. 

This measure will help tens-of-thousands of Sri Lankans whose family-members and loved ones are missing and who are unable to address practical issues relating to their disappearance. 


Restrictions on issuing passports to Sri Lankan Citizens lifted


The Government has today, 1 June 2016, issued a circular ending the restrictions placed in March 2011 on the issuance of passports to Sri Lankan citizens resident abroad who, at different times, were compelled to leave Sri Lanka due to conflict or political reasons.
In March 2011, instructions had been issued to all Sri Lanka Missions abroad to refrain from issuing passports to those who had applied and gained refugee status or asylum in another country unless they have renounced their refugee and/or asylum status. These instructions constituted a violation of citizen’s rights and resulted in hardship and difficulty to many Sri Lankans who were forced to leave the country for political reasons and denied a Sri Lankan travel document.


PM calls for close cooperation between governments and service organizations

30 may 2016 Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing rotary international convention

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the cost effective methods for governments to discharge its obligations to provide welfare services require close cooperation with service organizations.
The Prime Minister delivering the opening remarks at the 107th Rotary International Convention in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday (May 29) explained that the monetary restraints, budgetary control and reducing the Budget Deficit do not mean that the Governments can abandon responsibility for some of its welfare services.


Japan-Sri Lanka Summit Meeting

H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President Sri Lanka
On May 28, 2016, H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, held a bilateral summit meeting in Nagoya, Japan, following the Outreach Meeting during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit.
Both leaders shared the view, considering the fact Sri Lanka is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, that the development of the country and strengthening regional connectivity are of critical importance to the prosperity of the entire region. Both leaders reaffirmed that they would strengthen cooperation for the implementation of the Comprehensive Partnership between Japan and Sri Lanka and the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure. 


Steer econ growth to sustain well-being of Asia – President Sirisena calls on G 7

26 may 2016 president visit japan

President Maithripala Sirisena said that Japan’s formal announcement that G7 will explore what is needed to sustain the well-being of Asia to steer economic growth, highlights the relevance of Sri Lanka being here. “It endorses Prime Minister Abe’s reasoning for selecting us.”

Addressing the G 7 Outreach Summit today (May 27) in Ise-Shima in Japan, he said that with a revolutionary change of governance, his government has succeeded in creating the path for viable development environment and for reconciliation in a multi-faceted society. Now, the people are free and respect human rights.


Cabinet approval to open office for missing persons

26 may 2016 hon prime minister

Cabinet has approved a proposal of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs to establish an office for the missing persons.

The decision has been reached according to the strong requests received from the families of the missing persons asking the true information on disappeared or missing persons. 

Establishing this office will enable such families to reunited, closure with regard to such disappearance, or granted with reparations and other relief and support.


Innovation to take Lanka forward: PM

24 may 2016 innovation2030
Sri Lankans will have to innovate to be more competitive in the global market, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
Speaking at the Sri Lanka’s First National Summit on Foresight and Innovation titled ‘2030NOW: Foresight and Innovation for Sustainable Human Development’ organized by UNDP at Water’s Edge yesterday he said that innovation can take Sri Lanka to the next level from the current middle income country. “Sri Lanka is situated in one of the fastest growing regions in the world in the next few years and firstly it would give agriculture a lot of scope since there will be more ‘mouths’ to feed.”


President meets Indian Premier

14 may 2016 meeting indian pm

Modi assures assistance for reconciliation
Setting up of Allopathic Medicine Investment Zone in Sri Lanka was discussed
President Maithripala Sirisena who is on an official visit to India had bilateral discussions with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today (May 13) in Hyderabad Home New Delhi.
During the discussion, the Indian Premier assured to give every support to Sri Lanka to make the reconciliation program successful.


British Premier commends Lanka’s commitment for corruption free good governance

12 may 2016 meeting british pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron commended the commitment of the Sri Lankan Government for corruption free good governance.
He made these remarks when he met President Maithripala Sirisena for bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the Anti Corruption Summit, being held in London today (May 12).


The Full text of the speech by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London on May 12

12 may 2016 world anti corruption summit 2016

I thank Hon. Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister for inviting me to attend this Anti-Corruption Summit in London. I consider this summit a significant step to combine our collective efforts to fight corruption that is wide spread all over the world.
Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka went through such a stage during the previous administration. The people reacted strongly against corruption by changing the corrupt administration by the power of the ballet in January 2015 at the Presidential election and again at the Parliamentary election in the August 2016.



sl eu 2

The EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation met on 11 May 2016 in Brussels. The meeting, held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere, was co-chaired by Mrs. Sonali Wijeratne, Director General of Commerce, for Sri Lanka and Mr. Peter Berz, Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate General for Trade, for the EU.
The Working Group discussed issues related to bilateral trade and investment and possible means for their promotion in a mutual beneficial manner. In particular it discussed Sri Lanka's intention in applying for GSP+ status under the European Union's GSP Regulation. It took positive note of the fact that Sri Lanka had made significant progress in addressing outstanding issues towards launching an application, especially relating to the rule of law, democracy, governance and the overall situation pertaining to human and labour rights and environmental protection.



28 apr 2016 tifa

Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama led Sri Lanka delegation to the 12th US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting in Washington which adopted a path breaking Action Plan to boost bilateral trade and investment.

The Council meeting was Co-chaired by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama. United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power participated as well, encouraging the Sri Lankan government to continue its vital progress on democracy, accountability, and human rights. Ambassador Froman noted that the election outcome has ushered in a new era of U.S.-Sri Lanka economic cooperation. Joint Statement issued at conclusion of the meeting is attached.


Statement to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera after bilateral meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo. 25 April 2016

25 apr 2016 hon mfa sweden bilateralmeeting

It has been an honour and a privilege to welcome Sweden’s Foreign Minister, the Hon. Margot Wallström, to Sri Lanka this morning. This visit follows-on from the meeting we had in Geneva just over a year ago and President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickresinghe’s meetings with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven at the Boao Forum and World Economic Forum respectively.

Foreign Minister Wallström is no stranger to Sri Lanka, having lived and worked here in the late 1990s along with her family. I am delighted that we can welcome Minister Wallström to Sri Lanka again at such an exciting time of transition when Sri Lanka is on a new path towards democracy, reconciliation and development. 



22 apr 2016 paris agreement ny

Sri Lanka was among the 171 countries that signed the Paris Agreement today (22) at the High- Level Signature Ceremony of the Paris Agreement held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This high-level signature ceremony is the culmination of negotiations held amongst member states who agreed on the landmark climate deal during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) held in Paris in December, last year.

Hon. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Science, Technology and Research signed the Agreement on behalf of Sri Lanka.


Fighting illegal fishing: EU delists Sri Lanka

eu flag

European Commission yesterday (21st April) expands the global fight against illegal fishing by warning Kiribati, Sierra Leone and Trinidad and Tobago, while lifting the red card and associated trade measures off Sri Lanka, as it has significantly improved its national fisheries governance.
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “Today's decisions are yet another sign of the EU's determination to fight illegal fishing globally. It also shows that we can bring important players on board: Sri Lanka has now a robust legal and policy framework to fight illegal fishing activities. As the fight against IUU fishing is part of the EU's commitment towards sustainability and good ocean governance, each third country that comes on board is an asset.”


Let’s determine to rise as One Country – One Nation in this New Year – President

president sirisena

“Let’s determine to rise as One Country – One Nation unhindered by divisions or disparities, but genuine peace and equality, and to build a drug-free, alcohol-free country in the New Year commencing today”, said President Maithripala Sirisena.
I see the New Year festival as a link that promotes and strengthens reconciliation among the communities, the President further stated in his message issued for Sinhala and Tamil New Year.


Make economic, social transformation to herald in prosperity - PM

pm ranil wickremesinghe

This year, Sri Lankans come together to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year as a nation in which democracy reigns and human dignity is respected; where people of all ethnicities and religious backgrounds are free to rejoice during a season of fellowship, hope and unity, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a New Year message.


Chinese Premier welcomes Sri Lankan PM, calls for 'pragmatic cooperation' with Sri Lanka

7 apr 2016 honpm visit china

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday (April 07) welcomed the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a state ceremony in Beijing and called for expanding the pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe accompanied by a business delegation arrived in China Wednesday on a four-day official visit at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.


Address of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at Meeting with Australian Business Leaders and Parliamentarians

4 april 2016 business leaders parliamentarians
Address of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

at Lunch Meeting with Business Leaders and Parliamentarians
Melbourne, 4 April 2016

On the eight of January last year, in a historic election the Sri Lankan people voted for democracy, reconciliation and development, the three pillars on which the government is taking the country forward today. They chose robust democratic institutions over kleptocracy and authoritarianism, they chose healing and unity over hate and division and they chose a development strategy based on free competition and a level playing field over a system of crony capitalism.

As a result, Sri Lanka, the oldest democracy in Asia, which has faced two Marxist insurgencies, a civil war and nearly a decade of self-imposed international isolation, is now on the verge of a renaissance. The new government has a clear mandate and is putting in place the foundations for political and policy stability, growth and development, in addition to regaining Sri Lanka’s role at the centre stage of international affairs.


Address of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Australian Institute for International Affairs Roundtable

4 april 2016 roundtable australian institute
Address of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, MP
at the Australian Institute for International Affairs Roundtable
Victoria, 4th April 2016

On January 8th last year, in a historic election, the people of Sri Lanka cast their votes for democracy, reconciliation and development. They chose free and fair elections, good governance and the rule of law over authoritarianism and impunity; they chose stability, reconciliation and peace over the politics of fear and hate. And they eschewed isolationist crony capitalism for openness to the world and a competitive, transparent rules-based economy. Basically, the people of Sri Lanka were weary of politics and governance that just wasn’t cricket. They wanted the new Sri Lanka with an undoctored pitch, an untampered ball and genuine umpires.

The new government was left to clean the Augean stables – a debt-ridden economy, a divided country and gross corruption. While a great more needs to be done, in the last year there is no one who doubts that there has been a sea change in Sri Lanka. In fact, Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN said, “I cannot think of a country in the world today where there has been this much change in such a short a period of time”. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to begin my talk today by briefing you on Sri Lanka’s progress and plans and then moving on to touch on the Sri Lanka-Australia Partnership.


Deputy Foreign Minister Meets Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund

22 march 2016 green climate fund

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva and the Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anuradha Jayarathna met with the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Hela Cheikhrouhou at the GCF Secretariat in Songdo, Republic of Korea, on Friday 18th March 2016. A delegation of senior officials from the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment accompanied the two Deputy Ministers to Songdo to discuss projects to address climate change related issues in Sri Lanka. Created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the mission of GCF is to expand collective human action to respond to climate change. The Fund aims to mobilise funding to invest in low-emission and climate-resilient development in the planet.


Mano Tittawella appointed Secretary-General of Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (2)

mr mano tittawella

Mano Tittawella has been appointed as the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms.

The Secretariat will handle the design and implementation of Sri Lanka's reconciliation mechanisms. Tittawella, the Chairman of EAP Holdings, was the Director-General of the Public Enterprise Reform Commission, the Chairman of the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency, the Chairman of the Task Force to Rebuild the Nation, the Director-General of the President's Office and a Senior Presidential Advisor.


Terror attack in Lahore is a dreadful act of cowardice – President

president sirisena“The terror attack in Lahore yesterday is a dreadful act of cowardice. I am saddened by the news and condemn all forms of terrorism targeting innocent civilians”, stated President Maithripala Sirisena in his message of condolences to the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif on the terrorist attack in Lahore yesterday (27).


Prime Minister calls for urgent dialogue on terrorism

pm ranil wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for urgent international dialogue on terrorism that must include steps in addressing it effectively.

The Prime Minister said this in a message sent to Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium in which he expressed shock over the recent terror attacks that took place in Brussels.


Brussels attack must be condemned by the world – President

president sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena expressed his deepest sympathy over the dastardly terrorist attack at the Brussels airport yesterday and said it must be condemned by the entire world. In a message to the King Phillippe of Belgium, he conveyed the sympathies of the people and the government of Sri Lanka to the victims of this attack.
“As a nation that suffered due to ruthless terrorism for nearly three decades, Sri Lanka is always willing to extend fullest cooperation to any action aimed at eliminating the menace of terrorism from the world”, he stated.


Statement of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the 37th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers

17 march 2016 SAARC Foreign Ministers

Statement by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. 
Thirty- Seven Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers
17th March, 2016, Pokhara, Nepal

Mr. Chairman, Hon. Ministers,
Secretary-General of SAARC, Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am indeed happy to attend this important session of the SAARC Council of Ministers in this serene and beautiful city of Pokhara. 
Allow me to express my sincere thanks to the Government of Nepal for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation and for the excellent arrangements made for the meeting. Sri Lanka appreciates the active and visionary leadership role played by Nepal, as the current Chair, which has given a further momentum   to the SAARC process. 
I am confident that under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, our deliberations today will be productive to the processes and initiatives of SAARC. 


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