Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations in an interview held on Siyatha TV ‘Morning Show’ at 6.55 am today (25 May 2020) discussed the systematic repatriation process of Overseas Sri Lankans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The seventy-sixth session (CS 76) of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was successfully conducted on a virtual platform for the first time in its history, due to the COVID 19 situation, on 21 May 2020, in Bangkok. The CS 76 deliberated on ‘Promoting economic, social and environmental cooperation on oceans for sustainable development’, reiterating commitments to realize SDG 14 on ‘life below water’, as its key theme for the Session. Delegations also engaged on a discussion on ‘Regional cooperation to address the socio-economic effects of the global health crisis’, where Sri Lanka joined in cosponsoring the resolution presented by the Secretariat, emphasizing the need for collaborative action in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic to the world and particularly to the developing countries in the most populous Asia and the Pacific Region.
The annual Memorial Day event organized by ACOBA-EC will take place on Monday May 25th at 5:30 PM.
Please join us on Zoom to commemorate the sacrifices made by US and Sri Lankan veterans of all past wars.
Meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88050929517
Meeting ID: 880 5092 9517
Full text of the speech made by His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the National Ranaviru Day commemorations on May 19th 2020.
Reverend Maha Sanga representing Maha Nayaka Theros and Anu Nayaka Theros of Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters, Amarapura and Ramannya Nikayas,
His Eminence Cardinal,
Hindu Kurukkal leader, Islam Mowlawi,
· Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, former President and the Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
· Hon. Maithripala Sirisena, former President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
· Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda,
· Marshal of the Air Force Roshan Gunatilleke, Governor of the Western Province
· Secretary to the President,
· Secretary Defence,
· Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force,
· Acting Inspector General of Police, Director General of the Department of Civil Defence,
· Distinguished guests,
· War heroes of Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence,
· Dear parents, wives, sons and daughters of war heroes,
May 19th is a very important milestone in the history of Sri Lanka.
11 years ago on a day like this, on May 19th 2009, we completely defeated the separatist terrorism which had been a curse to the country for nearly 30 years.
It was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who gave the leadership for this battle in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief.
With the end of terrorism, an environment where people could live without fear or anxiety and enjoy their human rights freely was created.
After a period of 30 years, we ensured democracy and build an atmosphere where free and fair elections could be held.
The atmosphere where people can travel freely without any restrictions to any place of the country was restored.
Sri Lankans who have sought to benefit from the Amnesty declared by the Kuwaiti Government for Sri Lankans who are out of status, will commence repatriation tomorrow.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who had a telephone discussion with his Kuwaiti Counterpart Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah today (18 May) agreed that the first batch of returnees, numbering approximately 460, will arrive on two Kuwaiti Airways flights on Tuesday 19 May 2020.
The Foreign Minister also said in consultation with the immigration authorities, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait will verify and issue emergency travel documents to those Sri Lankan nationals who will qualify for the Amnesty, when the Kuwaiti government reopens for them to register. The general Amnesty enables those out of status to leave with no consequences, and also to return to Kuwait for work in a legal manner.
Minister Gunawardena assured his Kuwaiti counterpart that the government of Sri Lanka is committed to facilitate future repatriation of amnesty beneficiaries in Kuwait, consistent with previous practice. However Sri Lanka would require to coordinate it carefully in a manner that is consistent with the availability of space in quarantine centers, which are limited.