Travel goods from Sri Lanka to enjoy duty free entry to the United States

Export of travel goods from Sri Lanka will enjoy duty free entry to the United States following a decision by the United States administration to approve the inclusion of travel goods from all GSP beneficiary countries, including Sri Lanka, in the expanded US General System of Preferences (GSP) scheme on July 1, 2017.  This would enable the duty-free entry of products such as bags, wallets and backpacks in to the US market after being previously charged 6 to 20 percent of tariff.


Statement by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Foreign Affairs following bilateral talks with Hon. Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia on 19th July 2017 in Colombo

19 07 2017 hon.mfa02

Your Excellency Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia,

His Excellency Bryce Hutchesson, High Commissioner of Australia,

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure I extend a warm welcome to Hon. Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia to Sri Lanka. The visit is significant, since it coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Australia.

The people to people links are the bedrock of the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Australia. The presence of over 150,000 Australians of Sri Lankan origin has provided a human bridge between the two countries.


Invitation for views and observations on Sri Lanka’s draft National Report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights

  • The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process in which the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States are reviewed periodically. It was introduced when the UN Human Rights Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, and it was adopted unanimously by all UN Member States. Under this process, the human rights situation of all member countries of the UN is reviewed every 4.5 years.
  • The UPR is a State-driven process. Each State is given an opportunity to declare what actions have been taken to improve the human rights situation in a country and to fulfil their respective human rights obligations. The UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.


Opening Address by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Chairman of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) at the commencement of proceedings of the Seminar on Emerging Issues in the Indian Ocean and Foreign Policy Forum

28 06 2017 fm

Hon. Governors and Ministers, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: It gives me great pleasure, as the new Chairman of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, to address this eminent gathering of policymakers, diplomats, scholars, corporate leaders, lawyers, civil society, and students, at this landmark event on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy. 

It has been a little over a month since I became Foreign Minister. I am conscious that I have assumed an office and responsibilities previously held by some of our most illustrious leaders, not least by the late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar after whom this Institute is fittingly named, but also by Mr. A.C.S. Hameed, Mrs. Bandaranaike, and several others, each of whom left invaluable legacies for our international relations.    


Sri Lanka Signs an Agreement with Germany to Recruit Sri Lankans as Geriatric Care Nurses

29 06 2017 gn

Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment Mr. G.S. Withanage and Dr. Götz Schmidt-Bremme, Ambassador for the 2017-2018 GFMD Co-Chairmanship of Germany today (27th June), signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on principles of fair recruitment of personnel for training as geriatric nurses in the Federal Republic of Germany. The signing ceremony took place at the German Federal Foreign Ministry in Berlin, during Secretary Mr. Withange’s visit to Berlin leading the Government of Sri Lanka delegation to the 10th Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) hosted by the Government of Germany.


Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka appointed as UNSG’s Envoy on Youth

30 06 2017 jayathma


United Nations Secretary-General’s office announced today (20th June) that Secretary General António Guterres has appointed Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka as his next Envoy on Youth. She will succeed Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan.

Ms. Wickramanayake will succeed Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service in addressing the needs and rights of young people, bringing the work of the United Nations closer to them


Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka re-elected to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers

30 06 2017 prasad

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA, Prasad Kariyawasam, who has been a member of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers since its inception in March 2004, and the first Chair of the Committee , was re-elected for the fourth time at the Election held at the UN in New York on 28 June 2017, at the 8th Meeting of State Parties to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.


Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake visits India

06 07 2017 SLFM IPM 1

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake on his first visit overseas as Minister of Foreign Affairs, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held discussions with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday, 6 June 2017. He will have discussions today with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and others before returning to Colombo tonight.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs


7 June 2017


UN Day of Vesak Conference & Celebrations

09 05 2017 logovesakday


The UN Day of Vesak Conference will be held in Sri Lanka with 1600 participants from 85 countries from May 12th to 14th in Colombo and Kandy.

Some 750 international participants are expected from 85 countries, according to the Conference Secretariat.  

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ceremonially open the conference in Colombo and Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bandari will be the Chief Guest of the closing ceremony to be held in Kandy. President Maithreepala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and senior Cabinet ministers will also grace these occasions.


Minister Bathiudeen emphasizes urgency of developing a National Policy in Traditional Knowledge


03 05 2017 industryandcommerce


Addressing a two-day National Workshop held in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the BMICH on 27-28 April 2017, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, emphasized the urgent need to finalize a National Policy on Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions.



Stakeholders from over 30 government institutions and interested groups who took part in the event, called on the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to constitute a Task Force on Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions to see the process through speedily.




Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


3rd May 2017


PM Wickremesinghe meets Vietnam Prime Minister

18 04 2017 vietnam


Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that a new chapter was added to the friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Vietnam as a result of the official visit to Vietnam by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.



PM addresses Sri Lanka Business Seminar in Japan

18 04 2017 japan


During the next 20 years the population will increase to 250 million in the south Asian countries, therefore it is a responsibility of the Japanese government and the entrepreneurs to target the increasing population and make production plans,  said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

PM Wickremesinghe made these remarks addressing the Sri Lanka Business Seminar organized by the Japan External Trade Organization in collaboration with the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The Japan- Sri Lanka Business Cooperation Committee, and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan. Over 300 key entrepreneurs participated.  



Sri Lanka thanks countries that helped in Geneva




The Government of Sri Lanka extends its appreciation to all the countries that extended support to Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, 23 March 2017, for the adoption of Resolution A/HRC/34/1 titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, by consensus.

We deeply appreciate the understanding shown by all, and support for Sri Lanka’s processes for promoting reconciliation, justice, and human rights, towards enduring peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans.


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Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs moves to new premises

03 02 2016 cons03


The Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presently at the BOI building, 3rd Floor at No.14, Sir Baron Jayathilake Mawatha in Fort, will be relocated to the Ceylinco Building, 2nd Floor, No. 69 Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01 with effect from Monday, 6th February 2017.


Sri Lanka opens a Resident Mission in Ethiopia


With a view to broadening political, trade and economic relations with Ethiopia and also forge closer relations with the African Union (AU) that is headquartered in Addis Ababa, the Government of Sri Lanka recently established a resident mission in Ethiopia. The Embassy is located at No. 875, Kebele 02, Bole Sub City, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Telephone: +251-11-6154-681, +251-11-8334-175; Facsimile: +251-11-6154-785; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



Statement by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakesh

16 nov 2016 fm marrakesh

Statement by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka High Level Segment of the 22ndSession of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22)

and 12th Session of the Conference of Parties serving as a Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol

16 November 2016, Marrakesh, Morocco
H.E. Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP22 and CMP12
Executive Secretary of UNFCCC
Distinguished delegates
Ladies and gentlemen

At the outset, let me convey my delegation’s appreciation to the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting this important Conference and for the warm hospitality extended to us. Let me also convey the best wishes of my President H.E. Maithripala Sirisena.


Resist the attempts of the tobacco industry to undermine tobacco control – President urges the world

7 nov 2016 fctc newdelhi

“Tobacco & alcohol control at top of my national agenda”

President Maithripala Sirisena urged the world community to resist the attempts of the tobacco industry to undermine tobacco control through litigation and interference in government policy-making.

“We know that the industry will try to influence policymakers in many ways, often support petitioners to challenge government legislation and persuade the mass media. This, to me, is a direct interference in the internal policy matters of any country. We need not have any compromise of any kind with the tobacco industry,” stated President Sirisena, delivering the Keynote Address at the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention  on Tobacco Control (FCTC) held in Noida, India, today (Nov.07).


Economic environment to achieve sustainable development

pm parliament

Our development strategy is to trade successfully with the vibrant market in the Indian Ocean. In this venture, we intend to create a law-abiding economic environment in order to provide a platform for sustainable development. In the present context, Sri Lanka needs no governance, but a good regulation. Hon. Prime Minister said that through liberalization of the economy sustainability could be achieved.

Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said this in the Parliament recently while making a special statement on the present status of the country’s economy, the way forward and future aspirations.



27 oct 2016 mine detection dog team award

At the Annual “Clearing the Path” Gala 2016 organized by The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) of Washington D.C., Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Alvin and its handler Lance Corporal Nawarathne of the Sri Lanka Army Engineers Humanitarian Demining Unit, were selected as the MDD team of the year.

The Marshall Legacy Institute, an organization dedicated to “removing landmines and promoting stability” has been assisting the Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian Demining Unit in their humanitarian effort to clear landmines and explosive devices from affected regions in Sri Lanka. Over the years, MLI has provided 26 Mine Detection Dogs and training with the assistance of private donors and the U.S. Department of State.


“Sri Lanka wishes to see the Indian Ocean Rim Association move into a new era of dynamism”- Foreign Minister Samaraweera

27 oct 2016 iora group

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera called for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to move into a new era of dynamism, when he addressed the 16th Council of Ministers Meeting (CoMM) of IORA held on 27th October 2016 in Bali, Indonesia.

In his address, the Foreign Minister stated that it was necessary for IORA and the members to take collective steps to ensure the security of the Indian Ocean, including the freedom of navigation, aviation and adherence to international law including UNCLOS, enhance scientific and academic cooperation amongst IORA members, protect, preserve and use ocean resources sustainably guided by international law and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, eenhance preparedness to deal with ocean based disasters and un-assessed impact of climate change on ocean weather, establish mechanism for development finance within IORA and expand and broad base IORA’s partners for more intense and meaningful cooperation.


PM meets EU’s President

17 oct 2016 pm eu president brussels

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghes’s dedication and sacrifice to convert Sri Lanka into a democratic state which is dedicated to Good Governance is highly appreciated by the European Council, said President of the European Union Donald Tusk.

Meeting with the visiting Sri Lankan delegation led by PM Wickremesinghe on Monday (17th Oct.) at the EU headquarters in Brussels, he assured his fullest cooperation towards Sri Lanka as a special consideration to get GSP Plus back.


BRICS - BIMSTEC Outreach Summit, 16 October 2016, Goa

17 oct 2016 bricsbimstec 1

President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Goa on 15 October 2016 to participate at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) - BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical Cooperation) Outreach Summit. The President was met by the Minister of Labour of the State Government of Goa Shri Avertano Furtado and the Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shri M J Akbar and received a ceremonial welcome at the Naval Airport.

A retreat of India - BIMSTEC leaders was held prior to the BRICS - BIMSTEC Outreach Summit on 16 October. On the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders of BIMSTEC countries were invited for an interactive Summit with BRICS leaders. Highlighting that BRICS - BIMSTEC countries comprises nearly half of the world's population, the leaders at the outreach summit were unanimous in their commitment to jointly explore possibilities of expanding trade and commercial ties, and investment cooperation between BRICS and BIMSTEC countries, while advancing common goals of peace, development, democracy and prosperity.


President holds bilateral discussions with Indian Premier

16 oct 2016 meeting indian pm

President Maithripala Sirisena who is in India to participate in the BRICS Outreach Summit held bilateral discussion with the Indian Premier Narendra Modi at the Taj Exotica Hotel in Goa on Oct. 16.

Prime Minister Modi who warmly welcomed President Sirisena stated that the President’s participation at the BRICS Outreach Summit is a great strength for him, for India and also for the entire BIMSTEC region.


Remarks by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs Launch of Civil Society Network Joint Alternative Report to the Committee Against Torture

13 oct 2016 hom mfa ngo meeting

Remarks by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Launch of Civil Society Network Joint Alternative Report 
to the Committee Against Torture 
Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKIIRS), 13 October 2016

අශෝක් ස්ටීවන් පූජකතුමනි, රයිට් ටු ලයිෆ් සංවිධානයේ ෆිලිප් දිසානායක මහතා ප්‍රමුඛ මූලාසනයේ සිටින මහත්ම මහත්මයාණෙනි, ඒ වගේම බ්‍රිටෝ ප්‍රනාන්දු මැතිතුමනි, සම්භාවනීය අමුත්තනි, මිත්‍රවරුනි,

අද රාජ්‍ය නොවන සංවිධාන එක්මුතව විසින් සංවිධානය කරන ලද මෙම ඉතාමත්ම කාලෝචිත වැදගත් සම්මන්ත්‍රනයට මටත් ආරාධනා කිරීම ගැනත්, වචන කීපයක් කථා කරන්න ලැබීම ගැනත් මම ඉතාමත්ම සතුටු වෙනවා.


Joint Statement by New Zealand and Sri Lanka on the Occasion of the Official Visit to New Zealand by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka: 1-3 October 2016

3 oct 2016 hon pm visit newzeland

Joint Statement by New Zealand and Sri Lanka
on the Occasion of the Official Visit to New Zealand by
the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe,
1-3 October 2016

At the invitation of Rt. Hon John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is paying an official visit to New Zealand from 1-3 October 2016, accompanied by Hon. Sagala Ratnayaka, Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development; Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure; Hon. Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply; and Hon. Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2 Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s visit reciprocates a visit by Prime Minister Key to Sri Lanka in February 2016. The two Prime Ministers released this joint statement following official talks at Government House on 1 October in Auckland.


Pledging Conference for the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund New York, 21st September 2016

21 sep 2016 peace building conference

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera chairs the Invest in Sustaining Peace - Pledging Conference for the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund at the UN Head Quarters in New York on 21 September 2016. Seated with him is UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson (R )
Sri Lanka co-hosted a Pledging Conference to Refinance the Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).held on 21st September 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 71st sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.Sri Lanka together with Kenya, Mexico, The Netherlands, Somalia, Sweden, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom co- hosted the event. The conference was able to generate pledges from thirty countries amounting to a sum of US Dollars 152 million to support UN peacebuilding efforts across the globe. Foreign Minister Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, chaired one segement of the conference and delivered closing remarks on behalf of the co hosts. In his national statement delivered at the conference Hon. Mangala Samaraweera said that since the creation of the Fund in 2006, it had come to the assistance of many countries emerging from conflict. Sri Lanka, he noted, has been working closely with the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) since the Presidential Elections of January 2015, when the Government prioritized reconciliation and development as twin agendas to be pursued in guiding the nation towards durable peace. He pointed out that last year, Sri Lanka was declared by the UN Secretary-General as a country eligible to receive support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. In his closing remarks on behalf of the co hosts, Minister Samaraweera said that due to the cooperation of member states, the Fund will be able to continue to support critical projects in countries emerging from years of violent conflict, like Colombia, and in other countries where peace is fragile and needs to be sustained, such as in Mali, Somalia and Sri Lanka. “We are also emboldened by the fact that so many of you pledged, making the Peacebuilding Fund one of the most broadly supported funds in the UN system, “ the Minister further said.


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