The sixth round of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Foreign Office Consultations was convened by virtual mode on 16 December 2020 after a lapse of three years under the co-chairmanship of Foreign Secretaries Admiral (Prof) Jayanath Colombage and Ambassador Sohail Mahmood respectively.
During the Consultations, a wide range of issues reflecting the robust collaboration between the two countries were discussed. This covered trade and investment, culture and tourism, defence cooperation, agriculture and animal husbandry, education and technical cooperation, sports and media, aviation sectors with emphasis on a deliverable work agenda.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met the United Nations Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer and the heads of UN agencies based in Colombo yesterday 14 December 2020 at an event held at the Foreign Ministry to mark the 65th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s membership of the United Nations.
Addressing the gathering Foreign Minister Gunawardena reiterated Sri Lanka’s contribution to the UN system and reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to represent the interests of the Global South through its Neutral Non-Aligned policy with the UN, based on the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.
Minister Gunawardena further stated President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s commitment to the two resounding mandates from the Sri Lankan people and their desire to enjoy Sovereignty, Human Rights and Democracy through his “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met with the British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton and Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon, this week to discuss matters of bilateral importance.
The Minister addressed the mutual concern of security of countries, particularly in the context of the increasingly visible activities in the past few weeks by non-state actors engaged in glorification of terrorist acts of the LTTE, including suicide bombers. Serious note was taken by the envoys regarding the use of children in terrorist propaganda activities, leading to the radicalization of new generations of youth and children.
The High Commissioners conveyed the strong position of their governments that there was no tolerance for terrorist activities nor glorification of terrorism, in their countries, and the recent spate of acts of non-state entities in no way reflected a change in their official position on such matters.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Woonjin Jeong at a ceremony held in the Foreign Ministry on 08 December 2020, handed over a donation of USD 300,000 worth Real-Time PCR Test Kits to Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in commemoration of the 43rd anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea.
Addressing the handing over ceremony, Foreign Minister Gunawardena thanked the Republic of Korea for the generous contribution towards the COVID-19 containment efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka and highlighted that the traditional friendship between the two countries has flourished over time into a multifaceted partnership with economic cooperation as a key pillar. Acknowledging the exponential growth achieved by the Republic of Korea in the past decades, Foreign Minister Gunawardena sought the Republic of Korea’s expertise and support towards the development of rural economies and livelihoods in Sri Lanka with a special focus on the areas of aviation, shipping, health, agriculture, science & technology.
Ambassador Woonjin Jeongin his remarks stated that under the “Stay Strong” campaign, Korea and Sri Lanka have strengthened anti-COVID collaboration with each other. While expressing satisfaction at the ongoing development partnership between Sri Lanka and South Korea, the Ambassador invited Korean investors to explore more opportunities in Sri Lanka in key sectors including LNG, renewable energy, infrastructure and digital economy and more Korean tourists to come to Sri Lanka once the COVID-19 related travel restrictions are lifted.
State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, senior officials of the Foreign Ministry and the Embassy of Republic of Korea in Colombo were present at the event.
Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations on 14 November 1977.
At the invitation of the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore, State Minister for Regional Co-operation, Tharaka Balasuriya delivered a pre-recorded statement at 'Switching on Cross Border Start Ups & Innovation', an event organized jointly by GBCDL (GB Community Development Ltd.) as a consortium partner of Asian Development Bank (ADB-SP) Global Technology Innovation Village and Singapore Polytechnic (GTiV) with the High Commission of Sri Lanka to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Singapore, on 08 December 2020.
In his remarks, the State Minister reiterated on the robust ties between the two countries that have flourished over the years following the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1950. He further noted the importance of expanding trade, investment, cultural and educational relations and expressed hope that the goodwill between Sri Lanka and Singapore will further expand in the years ahead.
Meanwhile, State Minister Balasuriya also took the opportunity to express appreciation to the Government of Singapore for the assistance rendered in the health sector of Sri Lanka.
Statement by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Foreign Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the General Debate of the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
03 December 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I thank H.E. Volkan Bozkir, President of the General Assembly for convening the Special Session in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as proposed by the Non Aligned Movement and Azerbaijan, Chair of the NAM.
I convey my deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the greatest global health crisis to face humanity, and express appreciation to the frontline healthcare and essential services workers in Sri Lanka and worldwide, for their dedication and commitment.
Under the leadership of His Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka has been managing the spread of COVID-19 through the strict adherence to the Universal Health Precautions and with a whole-of-government approach, targeting zero transmission.
A National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak was established to carry out operations to combat the pandemic. A digital platform - ‘Stay Safe’ – facilitates public engagement for contact tracing. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Prevention effectively coordinates these measures. The free Universal Health Care facility that Sri Lanka provides to its people has also lessened the spread of the virus.
Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage together with Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Luo Zhaohui,chaired the 11th session of the diplomatic consultations between Sri Lanka and China virtually on 23 November 2020.
Eminent international legal luminaries, Managing Director and Head of Projects for Morocco and Sudan at the Max Planck Foundation Prof. Rüdiger Wolfrum and member of the United Nations International Law Commission Sir Michael Wood were among the speakers at a webinar organized by the Foreign Ministry on 20November 2020, as part of its responsibilities as the lead country for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Working Group on Maritime Safety and security on the theme “The Nexus between Marine Scientific Research (MSR) and Maritime Safety and Security (MSS)”.