Commonwealth Secretary-General calls on President

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, welcomes Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma at Temple Trees, Oct. 27, 2014. (Photo by : Nalin Hewapathirana)
Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on the ongoing work and progress of objectives agreed upon at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that took place in Colombo last November.
Calling it a routine “health check” of work resulting from a CHOGM, Mr. Sharma reported to President Rajapaksa that the check “is successful.”


2015 Budget: Abundance of relief to all sectors

budget 2015All segments of society will receive reliefs in the form of salary increases, tax concessions, price reduction of consumer items, interest hike for savings, pension benefits and diverse subsidies and concessions.
Presenting the Budget for 2015 in his capacity as Finance Minister, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the country is rapidly advancing towards its desired objectives as a economic foundation has been laid during the last 10 years. This is the 68th budget of Sri Lanka since Independence and 10th budget presented by the President.


Deepavali fosters understanding among communities, increase harmony - President


The festive day of Deepavali, which underlines the great spiritual values of Hinduism, is filled with the spirit of love and devotion, and is an occasion for Hindus to strive for greater spirituality, foster understanding among communities, and increase harmony among people, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The President, in his message issued for Deepavali festival states that the religious practices and festivities that go with this festival will also add to the spirit of reconciliation that prevails in the country, for which, one looks forward to the eager and active participation of the Hindu community.



Sri Lanka will continue to assist EU Countries in sustaining ban on LTTE

The Ministry of External Affairs is surprised at some of the recent statements on the outcome of the case filed by the LTTE in 2011 at the General Court of the European Union in which the Council of the European Union was the defendant supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the European Commission as interveners. These statements by interested parties are based on an inaccurate premise.
The Ministry of External Affairs wishes to state that from the outset of the case being filed, legal advice and expert opinion were sought from within the European Union system and specialist European lawyers. Accordingly, the Government of Sri Lanka took action in the most effective manner available, by providing material of a substantive nature to the defendant and the interveners on a regular basis. This was in accordance with Sri Lanka being a non-member state of the European Union and having therefore to meet special conditions, contrary to the national interest of Sri Lanka, in order to be allowed to intervene itself in cases before the General Court of the European Union.


Sri Lanka expresses concern on decision of the ECJ

The Government of Sri Lanka has noted with concern the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 16th October, to annul the EU regulations proscribing the LTTE. The defendants of this case have been the Council and Commission of the European Union, together with two member states, the Netherlands and the UK.

Expectedly, the ECJ judgment requires in-depth study by all the defendant parties. It is noteworthy that the Court has stressed the annulments to be “on fundamentally procedural grounds” and “do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group.” Further it is observed from the decision of the ECJ that “the effects of the annulled measures are maintained temporarily in order to ensure the effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds”.


Yal Devi again after 24 years

President -Yal Devi express train arrived in Jaffna 13oct2014

The famous north-bound Yal Devi train resumed carrying passengers to Jaffna today (Oct. 13), after a 24-year lapse, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the Northern Railway Line up to Jaffna joining the inaugural drive as a special passenger.
In line with this, the Jaffna Railway Station also was opened by the President. The Jaffna railway station is now featured many modern facilities including novel communication electronic signal system.


President handed over land deeds to 20000 people in Jaffna

land deeds-12oct2014

President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over land deeds to 20,000 people in Northern Province today (12 October 2014).

President Rajapaksa arrived in Kilinochchi today commencing his 3-day visit to North.

The people of the North who lost their lands due to the terrorist activities were given their lands again under a programme to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).


Sri Lanka Signs the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Sri Lanka signed the global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Dr. Palitha Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, signed the Minamata convention on Mercury on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka on 8th October 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Minamata Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was concluded at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. One hundred and twenty five countries have signed this agreement, while six countries have so far ratified it.


Special Bureau for Reconciliation to be established

The government has taken measures to establish a special Bureau for Reconciliation to facilitate the implementation of Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation.

A Committee headed by the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga is engaged in monitoring the implementation of 144 recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) contained in the National Plan of Action.


President extends invitation to Pope Francis

HE-Pope Francis-3oct2014

President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was received at an audience by His Holiness Pope Francis I this morning extended an invitation for His Holiness to visit Sri Lanka in January next year.

President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa who arrived at the Vatican this morning were received with honor by Head of Vatican Protocol Office, Msgr. Jose Avelino Bettencourt. The traditional Swiss Guards of the Vatican formed a Guard of Honor to the President. Later the President, First Lady and members of the Sri Lanka delegation were escorted to Apostolic Palace where President Rajapaksa had his audience with His Holiness at the special audience hall of the Palace.


SL participates at UN Intl’ Conference on Small Island Developing States

Conference 1 1samoa 4sep2014

Sri Lanka is participating at the Third UN International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which is being held in Apia, Samoa.
The Summit was inaugurated by Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General. 
Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, the High Commissioner is representing Sri Lanka at the above Summit from 1st to 4th September 2014. 


President and UN Sec-Gen meet in New York

he met ban ki moon sep2014

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon met for talks at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City this afternoon.
Congratulating President Rajapaksa on his leadership, Mr. Ban acknowledged the progress that has been made in Sri Lanka in the years after the war and expressed his optimism that the remaining challenges would also be overcome with this type of political leadership.


Depoliticise UN system and mechanism to enhance credibility – President Rajapaksa calls on member nations

“As Buddha said all human endeavour must be to construct order out of chaos and harmony out of strife”
address un summit ny-sep2014

Although the role of the UN in advancing international peace, security and prosperity is crucial in the contemporary world, in order to gain the confidence and goodwill of the international community as a whole, one of the essential requirements is consistency of standards across the board without any perception of selectivity or discrimination, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “It is in this context that the current functioning of the system needs fresh examination in order to enhance its credibility. To be successful, this process must involve de-politicisation of the UN systems and mechanisms and they must stop being hostage to different forms of funding,” he elaborated.

Addressing the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York last evening, he pointed out that human rights are used as a tool to implement motivated agendas with no understanding or appreciation of the complexity of issues in the countries concerned. “Human rights should be recognised by all as a moral and ethical concept rather than as a political tool. External intervention without adequate consideration of the structures in a society and cultural traditions of the countries where such intervention takes place, inevitably results in destabilisation, which is very much in evidence today, in most parts of the world.”


Sri Lanka urges consensus building as key to multilateral outcomes

amb azeez 23sep2014

Ambassador A.L. Abdul Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Vienna, Austria, has been elected by acclamation as President of the 58th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today, (23rd September 2014). He took over the office of President from South Africa's XolisaMabhongo who held the post last year.  
Accepting the honour conferred on Sri Lanka by the IAEA General Conference which consists of 162 Member States, Ambassador Azeez emphasized the continued relevance of the IAEA in the area of international peace and security as the world was faced with myriad challenges today. The peaceful use of nuclear energy and technology through technical cooperation and verification of nuclear safeguards makes an important contribution to the economic advancement of many countries, he added.


At ICAPP General Assembly: President Rajapaksa cautions of dangerous trends to Asian Community


The emerging trends in the world, including in parts of Asia give signals that are dangerous to the Asian Community, President Mahinda Rajapaksa cautioned the Asian political parties. 
“We see how external forces under the guise of democracy and other enticing slogans seek to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries. They show little concern about destabilizing nations. They encourage domestic disharmony and we now see how the media including social media being used by the forces that are continuing the cause of division, separation and terror,” he said addressing the 8th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP).


Sri Lanka donates medical examination gloves to Ebola-stricken countries

Sri Lanka today donated one million medical examination gloves to West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak as its contribution to the global appeal, ‘Road Map for Ebola’ by World Health Organization (WHO).
The consignment of gloves worth Rs. 5 million will be distributed among medical workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Sri Lanka and China agree to deepen their Strategic Cooperative Partnership

chinese pr mr 17sep2014

Sri Lanka and China have agreed to deepen their Strategic Cooperative Partnership, following official talks between the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping and President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo today (16th September 2014).
President Xi Jinping, accompanied by First Lady, Madam Peng Liyuan and a high level official delegation arrived today in Sri Lanka on a two day State visit, at the invitation of President Rajapaksa. On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, President Xi and Madam Peng were warmly received by President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Later in the day, the Chinese dignitaries were accorded a colourful and elaborate ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Secretariat, prior to the commencement of official talks between the delegations, led by the two Presidents.


Sri Lanka has made significant improvements in lives of children – UN report

Sri Lanka has made significant improvements in the lives of children during the past decade, according to a UN report which commended the country's strong commitment to improve child health and well-being.
The report 'Improving Children's Lives, Transforming the Future - 25 years of child rights in South Asia' by the United Nations' children agency UNICEF analyzes the progress made over the last 25 years on nine key issues that directly affect the lives of children in South Asia.


Cuba sees a promising future for bilateral relations with Sri Lanka

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla says he sees a promising future for bilateral relations with Sri Lanka.
The Cuban Minister, who arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday for a two-day official visit, made this comment when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at Temple Trees.


Maritime security underscores Japan, Sri Lanka ties:Sri Lanka moves to digital technology with Japanese assistance

Recognizing Sri Lanka’s enormous potential as a maritime nation in the Indian Ocean, the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, expressed their determination to expand the long-standing friendship between the two countries into “a new partnership between maritime countries”; and further strengthen the cooperative relations to play significant roles in the stability and prosperity of the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

The Joint Statement issued by the two leaders after bi-lateral discussions at the Presidential Secretariat today, gave much importance to the strategic location of Sri Lanka, in the India Ocean sea lanes straddling Asia and Africa.



Spain Understands the Impact of Terrorism, Spanish FM tells President

Spanish FM tells President-web
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain Mr. José Manuel Garcia-Margalloy Marfil called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning. 
The discussion focused on strengthening both diplomatic and economic relations between the two nations. The Minister also spoke of Spain’s struggle with fighting terrorism and told President Rajapaksa that Spain understands well the impact of terrorism because his country too has suffered from it for many years. 


'Defence Seminar -2014' begins

Defence Seminar 2014 begins 20140818 03p3

The 'Defence Seminar -2014'organized by the Sri Lanka Army began at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo today morning (18th August). This is the fourth in a series of annual international defence seminars to be held in Colombo since 2011.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. GL Peiris attended as the chief guest. Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the conceptual architect of this prestigious international forum attended as a guest of honour.


Japanese Vice-Minister calls on President

japan vice min manabu sakai 19aug2014

Japan’s Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Mr. Manabu Sakai called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday (Aug. 19).
President Rajapaksa conveyed Sri Lanka’s appreciation to Japan for its continued support at international forums, pointing out that Japan has always assisted Sri Lanka at times of need. He also briefed the Minister of Sri Lanka’s post-war development.


High Commissioner Pillay seeks to influence the OHCHR investigation process

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai is attempting to influence the investigation on Sri Lanka and make it follow a preconceived trajectory. Her public pronouncements to the media when she is scheduled to leave office at the end of the month, on an investigation which has commenced only recently is clear indication of personal bias, the External Affairs Ministry stated in a release yesterday (August 14).

"It is evidence of an attempt to influence the investigation process and make it follow a preconceived trajectory," the ministry release stated. The release added: "She refers in her statement to a 'wealth of information outside Sri Lanka'. This is the same wealth of information that she has tended to refer to in the past, justifying it to be from credible sources, although their origins continue to remain undisclosed, and verification has not been facilitated, the release further stated.


Pakistan-Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary-level talks in Islamabad


Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Mr. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne held Fourth round of Political Consultations on 6th August 2014 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad.
The Sri Lankan delegation comprised of H.E. Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody, Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Senior DIG Anura Senanayake, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Mr. Dharshana Mahendra Perera, Acting DG/South Asia, Ministry of External Affairs, Mr. Samantha Wijesekara, Deputy Director, Department of Commerce, Mrs. Tharanga Liyanage, Director (Middle East & SAARC),Department of External Resources and officials of the Sri Lankan High Commission, while senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 12 other Government Departments were part of the Pakistani delegation.


Our decisions always focus on benefitting future generations, not merely the immediate – President


When taking political decisions we always took a very long-term view of issues, and did not focus merely the immediate and short-term time horizon, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

“When we developed the infrastructure of our country we were not thinking of the next 5 years or the next election, but about the next one hundred years and beyond”, President Rajapaksa said addressing the ceremony of the 175th anniversary of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce yesterday.


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