Remarks to the media by
Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs following call by Ms. Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia of the US State Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo: 25 August 2015
Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen.
I have just concluded discussions with Ms. Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and Mr. Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the US State Department. I also welcomed Ambassador Atul Keshap who just assumed duties as the United States’ Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
We have continued the dialogue that began following the election of President Sirisena in January and my appointment as Foreign Minister then.
Hon. Mangala Samaraweera MP was appointed today as Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister. Taking oaths in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, he re-affirmed his commitment to “faithfully perform the duties and discharge the functions of the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in accordance with the Constitution”.
This is the third time Minister Samaraweera will hold the portfolio, having held it for the first time between November 2005 and January 2007, and for the second time between January 2015 and August 2015.
The former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he will stand by Sri Lanka to correct the misconceptions about the country within the international community.
He made these observations when he met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today (24). The former British Prime Minister arrived in Sri Lanka recently on a private visit.
Address by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera
at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture
Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations & Strategic Studies, Colombo: 24 August 2015
I have the honour today, as the Chairman of the Board of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies, to speak a little about my late cabinet colleague Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar and also introduce our guest speaker, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair.
On 12th August 2005, 10 years ago, this country lost one of her illustrious sons, the Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar. A fearless critic of terrorism, he courted death from the moment he took over the portfolio of Foreign Affairs in those challenging days for our country. Finally, ten years ago, a sniper’s bullets managed to silence him forever. Ladies and gentlemen Minister Kadirgamar was a much loved and much admired Foreign Minister of our country. He earned the respect and admiration of his counterparts, leaders of foreign countries, those of us who were honoured to be his colleagues in Cabinet at the time, and all those who had the pleasure of meeting him. Bestowed perhaps with a prophetic view of evolving global threats, he warned western democracies well before 9/11 that they were being too passive about the activities of terrorist organisations – especially their fund raising and planning activities.
The leader of the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today (21).
After Mr. Wickremesinghe took oaths as the new PM, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), to work together in the next Parliament.
President Maithripala Sirisena returned to Sri Lanka on Monday (27th July) afternoon concluding his State Visit to Maldives for the 50th Anniversary of Independence.
President Sirisena was accorded a ceremonial welcome in Maldives. He attended the official function to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Independence and the special reception held on the occasion on Sunday 26th July.
Sri Lanka welcomes the successful conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union in Vienna on 14 July 2015.
Sri Lanka has always supported efforts by the international community to resolve the Iran nuclear issue amicably, respecting Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera undertook a visit to Japan from 17 to 20 June 2015 on the invitation of his Japanese counterpart, Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida. The visit, which was the first official visit undertaken by an emissary of the new Government to Japan, focussed on further consolidating the close and friendly relations between the two countries for mutual benefit.
The discussions between the two Foreign Ministers ranged from bilateral political and economic relations, to cooperation in the multilateral fora. The two sides referred to the excellent relations between the two countries built on a solid foundation of historical and religious ties, as well as mutual understanding and friendship.
At the invitation of his counterpart, the Federal Foreign Minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited Berlin from 21st - 23rd May 2015.
The visit, which was his first as Foreign Minister, was focused on renewing relations with Germany, Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner in Europe, and resetting ties through greater cooperation in diverse fields including technical and vocational training for Sri Lanka’s youth, and expanding trade and investment.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has commended the historical long-standing economic relations between Sri Lanka and Switzerland and the highly valued contribution made towards the Sri Lankan economy by A. Baur & Company, the oldest Swiss Investment in Sri Lanka.
He made these observations when at the invitation extended by the Baur’s Foundation, he visited the Baur Foundation Museum of Far Eastern Art on 07 May 2015. The Baur Foundation Museum of Far Eastern Art brings together a private collection of Chinese porcelain, jade and Japanese art by Mr. Alfred Baur, the founder of A. Baur Company. It also depicts his time in Sri Lanka. The Museum stands out as one of the most significant private collections in Europe.
US Secretary of State John Kerry who visited Sri Lanka at the invitation of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera concluded his two-day visit to the country on Sunday 3rd May 2015.
During the visit which was the first official visit by a US Secretary of State in 43 years, Secretary Kerry called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, and had a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who hosted the visiting Secretary of State and delegation to lunch at the Temple Trees. He held official bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The delegation at the talks included Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse, Investment Promotion Minister Kabir Hashim, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P. Perera, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Chitranganee Wagiswara and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States Prasad Kariyawasam.
American Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States appreciates the firm steps taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to strength democracy and ensure transparency and accountability and promised the government all possible assistance to continue this process in the coming months and years. “We respect and value your work,” he said when he paid a courtesy call on President Sirisena today at the Presidential Secretariat.
He said that the United States considers the close relations with Sri Lanka very important and proposed setting up of Annual Partnership Dialogue to ensure continuity of close partnership between the two countries in economic, trade, investment and other areas.
Good Morning Ladies and Gentleman,
It has been a great honour and privilege to welcome the Honourable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, to the historic Republic Building which has been the home of our Foreign Ministry since Independence.
Secretary Kerry’s visit is a momentous occasion for Sri Lanka as it is the first official visit by a US Secretary of State in nearly half a century - 43 years to be precise.
On this occasion that marks 100 days since my election as President, I think it is proper that I address you as your first servant, appointed by you. Following the results of the Presidential Election on January 8 this year, you gave me the opportunity of being sworn in as the Head of State or President of this country.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera participated at the Global Conference on Cyberspace, from 16-17 April 2015 in the Netherlands. Speaking at the conference, the Deputy Minister underscored that Information and Communication Technology was the tool and enabler that would push the boundaries of socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and that e-Government led reforms would be a catalyst in bringing greater transparency, efficiency and accountability. He also briefed on various initiatives underway in the ICT sector that had brought Sri Lanka to the lead position in South Asia on the UN e-Government Readiness rank.
“What is special in this New Year celebration is the spread of festivity amidst the commitment to good governance that transcends differences of ethnicity, caste and community, with important strides being taken to realize the need for unity among all our people” said President Maithripala Sirisena.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a national festival which embellishes the national unity, brotherhood, equality, pleasure and prosperity of which traditions are embedded in the culture of Sri Lankans whose lives are mostly based on an Agricultural economy since distance past, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister said in his New Year Message.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera introduced amendments in Parliament today to the United Nations Regulations 1 and 2 of 2012 promulgated under the United Nations Act number 45 of 1968, to bring them into line with international obligations and strengthen the domestic legislative framework.
The UN Regulations of 2012, were enacted by Sri Lanka, in keeping with its international obligations to comply with UN Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1267, that set out measures and strategies to combat international terrorism. The proposed amendments to the UN Regulations that have been gazetted in Extraordinary Gazette No. 1892/37 of 11 December 2014, tabled in Parliament today by Foreign Minister Samaraweera are aimed at strengthening Sri Lanka’s domestic legislative framework to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions on terrorist financing and money laundering and will strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement and judicial authorities responsible for investigating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Switzerland is willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Sri Lanka and ready to extend its full support for a national reconciliation programme Visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter told President Maithripala Sirisena.
The visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs made this pledge Tuesday (March 17) when he met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat.
Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who visited Sri Lanka at the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena concluded his two-day official visit on Saturday 14 March 2015. He was received on arrival by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe along with several dignitaries. The visit follows President Maithripala Sirisena’s first overseas visit to India in February 2015.
The Prime Minister of India was accorded a ceremonial welcome on 13 March 2015 at the Presidential Secretariat including a Guard of Honour and the Gun Salute. The President of Sri Lanka, accompanied by the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and several Cabinet Ministers and, officials engaged in bilateral talks with the visiting Prime Minister and the Indian delegation. President Sirisena hosted a Banquet in honour of the visiting Prime Minister. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hosted a lunch in honour of Prime Minister Modi at which most of the Members of Parliament were present. On Friday (13 March) the Indian Prime Minister addressed a Special Sitting of the Parliament, visited the Mahabodhi Society in Colombo, laid a floral wreath at the IPKF memorial and addressed a gathering of the Business Community.