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Foreign Minister Gunawardena and UK’s International Trade Minister discuss stepping up bilateral trade and investment ties with the UK

Friday, 24 July 2020

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

Sri Lanka to facilitate, protect and promote liberal ecosystem for Indian investors: Foreign Secretary Aryasinha

Thursday, 23 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 assists Sri Lankan workers in Italy

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

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 honoured for leading an eco-friendly Presidential Election campaign

Saturday, 18 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.

President declares 2021 – 2030 the Decade of Skills Development

Thursday, 16 July 2020
  • Aims to ensure every student has access to higher education and reduce unskilled labour to 10%

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Skills Development in Sri Lanka. The move is expected to herald a transformational phase of educational reform and skills development for the nation in line with the government’s national policy framework, ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’.

The Decade of Skills Development builds on the success of Sri Lanka spearheading the adoption of World Youth Skills Day which was established through a proposal presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014 by the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tenure as the President. The action plan for the Decade of Skills Development focuses on cultivating next generation skills in line with global trends and the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Decade of Skills Development is expected to transform the general, higher and professional education and vocational education sectors in Sri Lanka in order to reduce the population of unskilled labour to 10%, create global technocrats and position Sri Lanka as the epicenter for human resource development in Asia by creating a digital, future-fit citizenry who will drive the development agenda of the country. Transforming the education sector is also expected to generate revenue for the country by attracting both foreign investments and international students, and increasing foreign remittances brought in by skilled migrant workers.

‘World Youth Skills Day 2020’ celebrated by the UN Headquarters in New York

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic period must be utilized to have a positive effect on TVET skills development and life-long learning, and these new solutions for teaching and learning could bring the much needed innovation to education and training systems particularly in the developing world, observed Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations at the opening of the commemoration event of the ‘World Youth Skills Day 2020’

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations delivering a message during the virtual event held at the UN to commemorate the World Youth Skills Day 2020

Opening of Special Deposit Accounts in Sri Lankan Banks

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Further to the invitation extended to overseas Sri Lankans, including dual citizens and well-wishers, to open Special Deposit Accounts (SDA) in Sri Lankan banks and the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka regarding the relaxation of foreign exchange restrictions with regard to such accounts, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka is pleased to provide the following information regarding the representatives of the Bank of Ceylon and the Indian Bank, who have been authorized to facilitate Sri Lankans living abroad to open SDAs in their respective banks:

Foreign Minister outlines Sri Lanka’s Digital Responses to COVID -19

Friday, 03 July 2020

Statement by Minister of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka - 1st July 2020 'Close the Digital Divides the Digital Respons

Visionary political leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the effective use of technology in a whole – of – government approach has enabled Sri Lanka to control the COVID-19 and a wide range of pandemic related issues - said Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena addressing the Virtual Ministerial Conference on ‘Close the Digital Divides: the Digital Response to COVID-19’.

The Conference jointly organized by Estonia and Singapore on 1 July 2020 was attended by Ministers and representatives from over 60 countries.