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. 


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.


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