Sri Lanka Statement by Special Envoy of President at XVII NAM Summit

18 sep 2015 gosl nam statement

XVII Summit of the Heads of State and Government
of the Non Aligned Movement

Statement by Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe
Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training &
Special Envoy of President Maithripala Sirisena
Margarita Island, Venezuela. 18 September 2016


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera represents Sri Lanka at the Our Ocean Conference 2016

15 sep 2016 ocean-statement hon mfa

Participating at the Our Ocean Conference 2016, at the invitation of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on 15 September,  outlined several commitments by Sri Lanka to protect oceans around Sri Lanka and beyond.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka is perhaps one of the few countries in the world where the Head of State himself holds the portfolio of Environment, given its vital importance for the country and to ensure that Sri Lanka plays its part in dealing with issues relating to climate change and environment in a responsible manner, both locally and in a global context. 


Statement by the Government of Sri Lanka regarding the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka condemns the nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 9th September 2016. Sri Lanka notes with concern that this is the second such test to be carried out by the DPRK this year.

Sri Lanka calls upon the DPRK to abide by its international obligations and refrain from any action which would compromise peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.


Ministry of Science and Technology prepares proposals for a Central Institute of Science and Technology

8 sep 2016 honpm stc forum

Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs together with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, will prepare proposals for a Central Institute of Science and Technology, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering the welcome address at the STS forum yesterday in Colombo.

Our Universities and Research Centers will have the opportunity of being affiliated with the CIST. Furthermore our national policy is based on the expansion of science and technology education in the school system and the universities, the strengthening of research development of private and public sectors. This calls for more Science and Technology Teachers and Academics. The concerned Ministries are now addressing their minds to preparing a report as the first step, said the Prime Minister.


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera reaffirms commitment to further advancing bilateral ties during visit to the Republic of Slovenia

9 sep 2016 hon mfa slovenia

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited the Republic of Slovenia from 4-8 September on the invitation of Hon Karl Erjavec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia to attend the 11th Bled Strategic Forum 2016. During the visit, Minister Samaraweera met with President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Miro Cerar, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek and reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to strengthening and consolidating the longstanding relations between Sri Lanka and Slovenia and identifying new areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking at the Bled Strategic Forum at the panel discussion on “Human Security: You and I Matter”, Minister Samaraweera outlined Sri Lanka’s experience of a protracted conflict and the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to move in a new direction based on the three pillars of democratization, reconciliation and economic development.


Representations called from the public on HR action plan


The Inter-Ministerial Committee, established by the Cabinet of Ministers, to develop a national human rights action plan for 2017-2021, has decided to call for observations or views from all stakeholders, including civil society and interested organisations on the drafting of the new five year human rights action plan.
As directed by the Cabinet of Ministers, the draft action plan thus developed would be considered by the Cabinet by the end of October 2016.


Opportunities are there waiting to be exploited-Premier Wickremesinghe

1 sep 2016 pm singapore

Indian Ocean has emerged as one of the world’s busiest and most critical trade corridors, rapidly surpassing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Covering a vast global expanse - extending to East Africa in the West, Australia in the East, South Africa in the South, the Indian Ocean is well poised to regain its influence in world politics and the global economy said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe making the inaugural address at the Indian Ocean Conference themed Global Power Transition and the Indian Ocean in Singapore.

The Indian Ocean Region has always been a significant playing field for big powers. Historically it has also been a bridge between the East and West.  

Today the region is acquiring an intrinsic significance of its own. The Atlantic basin is declining. Central Asia and Africa have yet to evolve into mature political economies. The Middle East is in turmoil and Latin America is also undergoing a somewhat troubled growth. The Pacific basin - particularly the Eastern Pacific is very dynamic but it has its own latent instabilities such as the South China Sea and East China Sea disputes, developments in North Korea, increasing militarization of disputes and the absence as yet of regional institutions to bring coherence to the political economy of the area. So it is possible to argue that the Indian Ocean Region has an extraordinary opportunity to create something new in the global context and something historically uniquely beneficial to its people, said the Prime Minister.


Introductory Remarks by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to Address by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

1 sep 2016 unsg hon mfa

Introductory Remarks by
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, MP.,
to Address by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute
Colombo, 1 September 2016


His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Madam Ban Soon-taek
Ladies and Gentlemen

The first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to address the UN General Assembly since Sri Lanka was granted membership in the United Nations in 1955, Hon. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, articulated our intentions as a member of the UN, as follows:

“This is an Organisation which expresses itself most effectively by bringing to bear a certain moral force – the collective moral force and decency of human beings. That is a task in which the weak as well as the strong can render a useful service, and I give the assembly the assurance, on behalf of my country, that as far as we are concerned, every endeavour that we can make in all sincerity to assist in the achievements of those noble ideas for which this Organisation stands, will always be forthcoming in the fullest measure.”



UNSG Ban Ki-moon holds talks with the President

01 sep 2016 president un sg moon

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon held talks with President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House in Colombo today (September 1). The two leaders discussed about the ongoing development programmes, the progress of the programmes being implemented to strengthen reconciliation and the process of constitutional reforms.
President briefed the visiting UN Secretary General about the steps taken by the government with regard to constitutional reforms, devolution and structural reforms. He explained the steps taken by the government for resettlement and rehabilitation, release of land to the original owners and livelihood development.


Director-General Visits World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle

16 aug 2016 unesco dg visit sl

The Director-General began her first official visit to Sri Lanka on 14 August 2016 with a circuit around the “cultural triangle”, home to several of the country’s eight World Heritage Sites.

Accompanied by the Minister of Education, the Honourable Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO, she visited the  Ancient City of Polonnaruwa and the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, followed by Kandy's Dalada Maligawa temple, where she viewed the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha relic shrine in the presence of its Custodian and the Chief Minister of the Central Province.


Introductory Remarks by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera for the Keynote Address by Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova

16 aug 2016 hon mfa dgunesco visit

Introductory Remarks by
Mangala Samaraweera, MP., Minister of Foreign Affairs  
for the Keynote Address  by  Mme. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO  
16th August 2016
Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel most honored today to have the opportunity of introducing to you Mme. Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, who has so generously accepted our invitation to deliver this Keynote Lecture at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. Thank you Mme. Bokova, we warmly welcome you to Sri Lanka, and to this Institute. 

Madam Bokova’s keynote speech today will be on the very timely and interesting topic of “Soft Power for peace and development: UNESCO and the Sustainable Development Goals”. 


Visit of the Prime Minister of Norway

12 aug 2016 hon mfa norway pm

The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, Erna Solberg, commenced a two-day official visit on 12 August 2016. This official visit takes place in her dual capacity as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway as well as co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocacy Group, an appointment made by the UN Secretary- General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

Prime Minister Solberg had bilateral discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena on 12 August and she also called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan.


Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture 2016

12 aug 2016 norway pm lkiir oration

Sustainable Development Goals: Working together for our Common Good

Speech by Hon. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway.
Colombo, 12 August 2016

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Executive Director, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you, Dr Panditaratne for giving me this opportunity to speak about sustainable peace and development at this prestigious institute. The topic is very close to my heart as a co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group and as Prime Minister of Norway.

After having spent a few days on holiday in your beautiful country, I have already become very fond of Sri Lanka – its wonderful people, it’s fascinating culture and its magnificent scenery.


Esala Weerakoon assumes duties as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1 aug 2016 sfa esala weerakoon

Mr. Esala Weerakoon, member of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service batch of 1988 assumed duties as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 1 August 2016. Earlier in the day he received his letter of appointment from the Secretary to the President.

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Remarks to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera following bilateral talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion

28 july 2016 hon mfa remarks canada fm visit

Remarks to Media by Mangala Samaraweera Minister of Foreign Affairs following bilateral talks with H.E. Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 July 2016

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is both an honour and enormous pleasure for me to welcome Honourable Stéphan Dion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, to Sri Lanka.

Honourable Stéphan Dion’s visit is a landmark in our bilateral relations with Canada. This official visit of a Foreign Minister from Canada takes place after 13 long years.

Though geographically distant, Canada and Sri Lanka have shared a remarkable relationship over the years, and it was somewhat sad to watch our relations drift for awhile.




The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms is calling for submissions from diaspora organisations on the design of structures, processes and measures for truth, accountability, reparations and non-recurrence, i.e. an Office on Missing Persons, an Office on Reparations; a Judicial Mechanism with a Special Counsel; a Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-Recurrence Commission; and any other mechanisms, processes or measures for advancing reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Submissions can be made to the Task Force by diaspora organisations/ individuals until August 10, 2016.



Sri Lanka receives WHO Certification for Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis

21 july 2016 elimination of filaria WHO

21 July 2016 Today Sri Lanka received certification from WHO for having eliminated lymphatic filariasis - one of the oldest and most debilitating, neglected tropical diseases. WHO Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, presented the certificate to Minister of Health, Dr Rajitha Senaratne, at a ceremony in Colombo.

“The Ministry of Health has prioritized the elimination of this neglected tropical disease for several decades. We have now reached a major turning point, eliminating lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem," said Dr Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine.


Joint Press Release following the 20th meeting of the European Union - Sri Lanka Joint Commission

19 july 2016 eu joint commission

The 20th meeting of the European Union (EU) - Sri Lanka Joint Commission took place in Brussels on 19 July 2016. The meeting was co-chaired by Mrs Chitranganee Wagiswara, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, and Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service. 

The Joint Commission, which oversees the 1995 EU-Sri Lanka Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development, deals with a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Its tasks are to: ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Agreement; set priorities; and make recommendations. 


Opportunities of Convergence: Keynote Address at the South Asian Diaspora Convention by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka: 18 July 2016

18 july 2016 hon pm singapore diaspora meeting

Opportunities of Convergence
Keynote Address at the South Asian Diaspora Convention
by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
on Monday 18th July 2016, in Singapore

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Singapore, Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Distinguished delegates and Friends.



Remarks to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera following discussions with US Asst. Secretaries of State: 12 July 2016

12 july 2016 hon mfa-remarks

Remarks to Media by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera following discussions with US Asst. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal & US Asst. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo. 12 July 2016


Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski to Sri Lanka and to this Ministry, once again.


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera delivers opening address at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo

21 june 2016 hon fm death penalty
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on an official visit to Norway from 21-23 June, delivered the Opening Plenary Address at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo on 22 June, on the theme ‘Progress and Setbacks in Asia: Lessons to be learnt’. The World Congress Against the Death Penalty which takes place every 3 years, is organised by the association Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM).  The Minister of Justice, Wijedasa Rajapakse, also represented Sri Lanka at this meeting.

Minister Samaraweera called on Prime Minister Erna Solberg and had meetings with Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg, State Secretary Tore Hattrem and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in the Parliament of Norway.


Speech by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo, 21 June 2016

22 june 2016 hon mfa norwegian peace
Ladies and Gentlemen, in fact all of you are aware, that on the 08th of January last year in a historic election, in fact what the world calls the rainbow election of 2015, the people of Sri Lanka voted for change, and for democracy, reconciliation and development, the three pillars on which the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe are taking the country forward today.In fact on that day, the people of Sri Lanka 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 which had prevailed for many, many years previously.  And they eschewed isolationist crony capitalism for openness to the world and a competitive, transparent rules-based economy.

In fact, this victory in January was repeated again in August where extremist political parties on all sides of the divide were again decisively defeated and for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history, the two principle political parties which have governed Sri Lanka since independence chose to be on the same side leaving aside the bitterness of the past. And also for the first time, the leader of the TNA, the party which represents the Tamil community in Sri Lanka was chosen as the leader of the opposition and thus I feel a new window of opportunity was opened for Sri Lanka after many years to rectify the mistakes of the past and go forward towards a new future.


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s remarks following bilateral talks with Turkish Foreign Minister

16 june 2016 hon mfa turkey mfa

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, 
It has been an honour and indeed a privilege to welcome to Sri Lanka the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Honourable Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The visit is significant as this is the very first visit by a Foreign Minister of Turkey to Sri Lanka. I am confident that over the course of this visit we will build a solid foundation for this new chapter in our bilateral relations. 
We have just concluded a very productive discussion and signed the ‘Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on Diplomatic Training, Exchange of Information and Documentation’. Greater interaction between our foreign offices would certainly pave the way for stronger ties in all spheres of cooperation between our two states. 


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. 


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