British Conservative peer Lord Naseby, an ardent supporter of Sri Lanka has described the electoral outcome here as “a sea change never before witnessed; I for one recognise it – so too should the UK Government and the factions of the diaspora in the UK and elsewhere”
Lord Naseby, who is also the President and founder of the All Party British Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group in the UK said:
‘This is a truly remarkable result; yet again the ordinary people of Sri Lanka have turned out to vote at a level rarely seen anywhere in the World. This is true democracy at work. It would seem that the old order of the UNP and the SLFP have been consigned to history. In their place are the SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peruma)- the party of the Rajapaksa brothers who now dominate Parliament, and, a new, much smaller Opposition Party, headed by the young Sajith Premadasa, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya.
This is a new dawn for Sri Lanka, a fresh era creating the opportunity for the country to come together and finally put to bed the idea of any Tamil Eelam independence movement.
Now is the time for the West to understand the new mood in Sri Lanka; the desire on all sides for reconciliation to become realistic without any interference from the West or the UN Human Rights Council.
Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and the Minister for International Trade of the UK Ranil Jayawardena discussed stepping up bilateral trade and investment and expanding the areas of cooperation during a teleconference yesterday. It was the first official interaction between the two Ministers.
Both Ministers welcomed further consolidating the longstanding bilateral engagement through increased trade, security, research and training, science and technology and cultural cooperation, including people-to -people contacts. In particular, Ministers Gunawardena and Jayawardena agreed on the need for close cooperation to address the challenges facing bilateral trade and investment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both identified the importance of moving the supply chains and opening travel and tourism sectors to address pressing economic issues. Opportunities for new export products to the UK market from Sri Lanka were also discussed.
Recalling the shared values and interests between the UK and Sri Lanka as members of the Commonwealth, Minister Gunawardena reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to continue its active participation in the organization.
Foreign Relations Minister Gunawardena extended an invitation for Minister Ranil Jayawardena to visit Sri Lanka at the earliest opportunity.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
24 July 2020
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha said that the investment environment in Sri Lanka for Indian investors is conducive not only because of its stable leadership but also due to the strong bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and India. This was consolidated on following the early visits of the President, Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister to India where areas of cooperation was fully reviewed.
Addressing the webinar ‘Deepening Economic Collaboration between India and Sri Lanka’, organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) jointly with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Sri Lanka (LKI), on 21 July 2020, Foreign Secretary Aryasinha said, “India is among the top 5 foreign investors in Sri Lanka. The government is committed to facilitating, protecting and promoting the liberal investment climate in Sri Lanka by continuing to realign the systems and procedures to suit modern business needs. The prospective investors are encouraged to take advantage of these untouched investment opportunities in the island.”
Highlighting the potential areas of investment in Sri Lanka, he said that the government is targeting more investment in high value products. “India is strong in sectors like textiles, IT, agribusiness and the private sector of our two countries can explore collaboration related to investment, technology transfer in these sectors,” the Foreign Secretary added.
Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has taken the initiative to assist Sri Lankan workers in Italy to benefit from the amnesty granted by Italian authorities under the ‘SANTATORIA 2020’ programme from 01 June to 15 August 2020.
Taking into consideration the difficulties faced by Sri Lankan workers in the COVID-19 context, Minister Gunawardena has taken steps to waive off penalty fees for lack of documentation for workers applying for Sri Lankan passports and has brought down the fees to Euro 140 (from Euro 330 and Euro 420). This initiative will benefit an estimated 20,000 Sri Lankan workers currently staying in Italy who will be able to afford to apply for visas to work in Italy after obtaining their Sri Lankan passports.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
21 July 2020
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been awarded the “Zero Carbon Certificate” presented for first ever “Zero Carbon Presidential Election Campaign” in the world conducted with community participation.
Members of the Committee for Environment Policy Formulation of “Saubhagyaye Dekma” (Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour) policy statement presented the certificate to the President at the Presidential Secretariat today (16).
The Sustainable Future Group accredited to issue certificates on greenhouse gas management has confirmed that the Presidential Campaign of President Rajapaksa maintained environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emission at zero level. This Group is recognized by the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board which has gained international recognition in the field of greenhouse gas assessment.