In the wake of the discovery of a fast spreading new strain of Coronavirus in certain countries, the Government of Sri Lanka has decided to continue with the existing procedure of obtaining prior approval from the Foreign Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority for all inbound travellers to Sri Lanka.
The revised guidelines on repatriation will be issued once the situation has been reappraised.
The procedure for inbound travellers to Sri Lanka, introduced since March 2020 is hereby revised as follows, based on the joint decision made by the Foreign Ministry, the Department of Immigration and the Civil Aviation Authority and as agreed by the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation.
The following procedure will take effect from 26December 2020.
1. The Government of Sri Lanka (Foreign Ministry and National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) will arrange special repatriation flights for the Government quarantine facilities in coordination with Sri Lanka Missions abroad for migrant workers, students, patients, short term visa holders, government and military officials,
2. i. However, Sri Lankans or Foreigners of Sri Lankan origin (Holders of Dual Citizenship) will be allowed to travel on any commercial/non- repatriation flights to Sri Lanka without the approval of the Foreign Secretary (or) Civil Aviation Authority subject to the limit of passengers per flight determined by the Civil Aviation Authority, based on concurrence/consultation of NOCPCO subject to compliance with paid quarantining at a designated hotel.
ii. It is the sole responsibility of the Airline concerned to ensure that the passengers allowed on board under the above arrangement will strictly adhere to the paid quarantine.
The revision of procedure for inbound travellers will be subject to review based on further assessments made on new guidelines.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was invited by the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu to represent Sri Lanka at the Global Business Summit 2020 on 16 December 2020. The summit was co-hosted by the Governments of Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.
Addressing the Summit under e-Governance and Cyber Security, Foreign Minister Gunawardena highlighted that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has envisioned a people-centric and knowledge-driven new beginning for Sri Lanka, recognizing that the21st Century was defined by knowledge and innovation. The Foreign Minister provided an overview of Sri Lanka’s digital government architecture designed to address the needs of multiple layers of customers whilst ensuring that such services were effective, transparent and corruption, free. He noted that work was already underway to develop the Unique Digital ID relating to biographic and biometric data, the centerpiece of a citizen- centric digital regime, earmarked for completion by mid - 2021. Services covered by e-governance would be in the education, health, transportation, immigration and emigration, registration of persons and companies, motor traffic, income tax and local government sectors. He also underlined that e-governance, e-commerce and e-medicine and such digitalization, would define the ‘New Normal’ in the post COVID-19 global landscape.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena leading the Sri Lanka delegation thanked all Member States for placing their confidence in Sri Lanka when its application for the position of Vice Chair was endorsed at 20th Council of Ministers (CoM) Meeting virtually hosted by the United Arab Emirates today (17/12). Sri Lanka thereafter is expected to take over the Chair for the year 2023 to 2025.
The CoM was preceded by the 22nd Session of the Committee of Senior Officials (CoS) on 15 and 16 December 2020. The Sri Lanka delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage.
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.