Meeting between the Hon. Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to have an objective approach and extend equal treatment to all countries when fulfilling the assigned mandate, observed External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris, when he met visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay at the Ministry of External Affairs today. High Commissioner Pillay is on a weeklong visit to Sri Lanka on an invitation extended by the Government of Sri Lanka in April 2011. The invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights is a part of Sri Lanka’s consistent engagement with the United Nations system, including its human rights mechanism. Minister Peiris reiterated to High Commissioner Pillay Sri Lanka’s firm resolve to work with the United Nations system. However he said that there is a perception in the country about the lack of objectivity and fairness in the treatment meted out to Sri Lanka. The Minister added that Sri Lanka accepts constructive and justified criticism but resents vicious and baseless positions which are incessantly repeated.
More info...

 

 

 

 

President in Belarus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Belarus on the 25th of August on a three-day official visit to the East European nation.

The President was received at the Minsk National Airport by Mr. Vladimir Makei, the Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs. President Rajapaksa’s visit to Belarus is the first by a Sri Lankan head of state to the former Soviet Republic, which became independent in 1991.
More info...

 

 

 

 

Trade Exhibition Parallel to CHOGM 13th to 17th of November 2013, Colombo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


More info...

 

 

 

 

President appoints members to Commission to Investigate Missing Persons

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed the following members to the Commission tasked with investigating cases of persons from the Northern and Eastern Provinces who went missing during the war:

1. Mr. Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama Esquire (Chairman)
2. Madam Dimingu Badathuruge Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne
3. Madam Mano Ramanathan

The Commission has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President within six months. In President Rajapaksa’s instructions to the Commission, he stressed the necessity to identify the person(s) responsible in cases where abductions or disappearances are found to have taken place and to take legal action against those person(s).

The President indicated that the inquiries are being conducted in the interest of public security and wellbeing and in order to determine what measures should be taken to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

President Rajapaksa has also directed all public officers and other relevant persons to provide their full support and assistance to the Commission to carry out the work.

Read more...

 

 

Sri Lanka on track for South Asian shipping hub - ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka can become a shipping hub with the opening of the 500 million US dollar port Monday which will help secure maritime supply routes, Rita O’Sullivan, Country Director, Sri Lanka, Asian Development Bank said.

“Sri Lanka has a window of opportunity to get into and become a shipping hub with the opening of the new port with higher capacity ships coming to port,” the Country Director added.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

Provincial Council polls on September 21

 

 

 

 

The Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday set the date for elections to Northern, Central and North Western Provincial Councils for September 21 after the conclusion of accepting nominations.

This will be the first time the polls will be held for the Northern Provincial Council since the provincial council system was established under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution introduced by the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord as a measure for power devolution.
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Colombo and Hambantota Ports declared as Free Ports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ministry of Finance and Planning has issued regulations declaring Colombo and Hambantota ports as Free Ports.
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Continuing Vigilance Essential with LTTE Front Organizations -Professor G.L. Peiris Tells EU Parliamentarians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Delegation for Relations with Countries of South Asia in the European Parliament held bilateral discussions with Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, on 18th July 2013.

Prof. Peiris acknowledged the ongoing co-operation on counter-terrorism, and judicial action taken by several member countries of the European Union against terrorist elements inimical to Sri Lanka. He said that there are continuing fund raising activities carried out by LTTE front organizations and reiterated the importance of sustained vigilance in this regard. The Minister referred to Europol’s Terrorist Situation and Trend Report (TESAT) this year which states that these organizations are still considered active and benefitting from some support, especially in countries with a significant diaspora.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

World Bank to focus on large transformational projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a meeting with the World Bank’s Executive Director for Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan Mr. Mukesh Prasad held on the 15th of July, President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the Bank to focus more on large core projects rather than smaller projects that have a lesser impact.

Mr. Prasad agreed and said that the World Bank too has begun to focus more on larger “transformational projects that have a direct bearing on the goals of the country.”

An example of a successful Bank-funded project is the work done on urban development in Colombo, which has helped lessen the flooding that the city used to experience, the President said. President Rajapaksa also requested Mr. Prasad’s assistance in accelerating the project approval process, noting that it currently takes a very long time for the project documentation to be processed, which causes further delays to the project’s implementation.

While noting that current Bank-funded projects are progressing well, Mr. Prasad said, “It should be possible to do more.”

Also present at the meeting were Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and President’s Chief-of-Staff Mr. Gamini Senarath.

 

 

 

 

Tourist arrivals up in June

 

 

 

 

The number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka went up 12.8% to 73,628 in the month of June 2013, compared to June 2012 which was only 65,245, according to the latest figures released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).

512,281 tourists arrived up to June in 2013.

Figures showed an increase in the number of arrivals from Western Europe, East Asia, Australasia, South Asia, and North America.

The number of visitors from Western Europe rose by 14.0 percent with tourists from France up 12.3 percent, Belgium up 46.8 percent, the number of visitors from the UK is 6,400 and Germany up 6.4 percent according to the SLTDA.

Arrivals from East Asia increased 33.1 percent, with Malaysian arrivals to 1,600, and those from Korea (South) up to 491.

Arrivals from Australasia went up by 2.9 percent within the month of June 2013. The number of visitors from South Africa went up by 28.8 percent.

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka: Rising up the ranks while sharing prosperity - World Bank

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka is rising in the middle-income country ranks. Even during the three decades of conflict, the country maintained at least 5% of growth throughout. Unemployment rate (7% in 2005 to 4% in 2011, excluding North and East Provinces) and poverty rate (15% in 2006/07 to 9% in 2009/10) have dropped dramatically, says the World Bank.

The World Bank will support the government’s efforts to address the challenges and constraints for achieving its vision, specifically by: facilitating sustained private and public investment through improving the investment climate and increasing fiscal space and public spending efficiency; supporting structural shifts in the economy through assistance for a knowledge-based economy, and increased internal Sand international integration and competitiveness; and promoting improved living standards and social inclusion through support for increasing quality of services, reducing the prevalence of malnutrition and promoting social inclusion and equitable access, the Bank further said.

The quality of the national road network has improved with a reduction in the International Roughness Index (from 9.5 in 2005 to 6.2 in 2012) and a decline in the network vehicle operating costs (from 24 Rs/km in 2005 to 14 Rs/km in 2012).

Bank support through the Road Sector Assistance Project upgraded 618 km of national roads and the roughness index is far below the national average. Support to rural roads has contributed 154 km of repaired roads, with a 60% reduction in travel time in 2012 when compared to 2005.

The Sri Lanka portfolio is healthy with no problem projects or projects at risk, and 100% proactivity. Following the recent approval of the Second Health Sector Development Project, the portfolio is comprised of 16 projects with a total net commitment of $1.49 billion.

The foreign aid profile in Sri Lanka has changed considerably in recent years. With Sri Lanka graduating to the middle income level, the government of Sri Lanka has broadened its options for foreign financing for public investment, in a mix of less to non-concessional financing together with the available concessional financing, the World Bank added.

For full report please visit:
http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2013/04/10/sri-lanka-rising-up-ranks-sharing-prosperity

 

 

 

 

IMF assures continued support to Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) while commending President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his role in developing Sri Lanka assured continued support.

Dr. Anoop Singh, International Monetary Fund’s Director for Asia and Pacific region, who arrived in the country to participate in “Sri Lanka Economic Summit”, gave this assurance when he met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on the 10th of July. “You have brought Sri Lanka to a higher level of development within a short period”, said Dr. Singh. He went on to add: now it is time to focus on long term economic stability.

Sri Lanka’s economy has stabilized to a satisfactory level during the past three-four years, responded the President. “Our problem is high cost on fuel and negative consequences of climate change”, added President.

Recalling his visit few years ago to Sri Lanka, the IMF Regional Director stated, here is vast improvement visible now. Government gave priority to the development of infrastructure facilities such as road, electricity and telecommunication, and people are reaping the benefits now, the President said.

As Asia is the center of global economic growth in the 21st century, President Rajapaksa’s decision to further enhance relationship with East Asian countries including China is a correct step, Dr. Singh added.

Dr. Koshy Mathai representing the IMF, and the Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P. B. Jayasundara participated in this discussion.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka signs maritime cooperation agreement with India and the Maldives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka signed a trilateral agreement with India and the Maldives to cooperate on maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.

During the second National Security Advisor (NSA) level meeting held in Colombo on the 8th of July. The three neighboring countries agreed to cooperate in carrying out surveillance, anti-piracy operations and curbing illegal activities including maritime pollution.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

LLRC : 53 additional recommendations to be included in National Plan of Action

 

 

 

 

The Cabinet last week granted approval to incorporate an additional 53 recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report in the National Plan of Action.

These additional recommendations overlap other recommendations or form part of the recommendations contained in the National Human Rights Action Plan.

The Cabinet last week approved inclusion of these recommendations proposed by H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing, at the Information Department Auditorium, Government spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government had set up the National Action Plan to implement 91 LLRC recommendations to be implemented through 22 state institutions.

 

 

 

 

President to Menon : PSC the Best Forum for Reaching Consensus on 13th Amendment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during a discussion with India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, said the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is the best forum to reach a consensus on the implementation of the 13th Amendment.

At the meeting that took place at the President’s House in Colombo this morning, President Rajapaksa explained to Menon the practical problems that exist with devolving land and police powers to the provinces of a small country such as Sri Lanka and stressed that the structure that is implemented should apply and be acceptable to all parts of the country.

The President agreed with Menon that the participation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the PSC is important. It is a top priority of the government to reach a consensus on the 13th Amendment, President Rajapaksa said. The President also urged India to encourage the TNA to participate in the PSC and stated that the government is committed to taking the process forward despite any obstacles.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

President issues proclamation to conduct Northern PC polls

 

 

 

 

H.E President Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued a proclamation to the Elections Commissioner to conduct the Northern Provincial Council election, said the Government Information Department.

H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa last year vowed to conduct the long overdue provincial elections in the North in September.

The Elections Commissioner had stated that the polls for the Northern, North Western and Central Provincial Councils will most probably take place on September 21 or 28.

 

 

 

 

LLRC National Action Plan website launched

 

 

 

 

The official website of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of LLRC recommendations was launched on the 5th of July.

The website www.llrcaction.gov.lk will provide updated information relating to the progress of implementing recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

Speaking at the event, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga who launched the website said it is the need of the hour to have a dedicated website for the progress made in implementing LLRC recommendations.

In May 2010, President Rajapaksa appointed the eight-member Commission to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period, Feb 2002 to May 2009, their attendant concerns and to recommend measures to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such a situation.
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“Science, technology and innovation and the potential of culture for promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals”
- Statement by Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science, technology, innovation (STI) and culture play a key role towards the achievement of global development goals. These elements hold a gamut of potential as main drivers in overcoming challenges of this Century such as extreme poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. The realization of Millennium Development Goals by 2015 in less than thousand days poses a great challenge.
Full statement...

 

 

 

 

President’s Five-Day State Visit to Tanzania and Seychelles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H.E Mahinda Rajapaksa, President concluded his 5 day state visit to Tanzania and Seychelles. The 3 days in Tanzania has laid a solid foundation to further enhance cooperation in all sectors between Sri Lanka and the African Continent, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said

 

 

 

 

 

 

During his 2 day state visit to Seychelles, Sri Lanka signed 3 agreements with Seychelles. They are Bilateral Air-Service Agreement, MOU on Vocational Training and Youth Development and MOU on Defence Cooperation between the two countries. President also attended the Sri Lanka-Seychelles Business Forum on his last day of his visit.

 

 

 

 

‘SHILPA’ National Crafts Festival - Colombo,
Sri Lanka August 15-18, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Craft Council has informed that Sri Lanka National Craft Festival will take place this year with many events and activities. This year's festival focus is on “ subtainable and inclusive economic growth and reconciliation for lasting peace. ” There will be a large number of participants from the North and East of island.
Read more...
Details...

 

 

 

 

13th COLOMBO MARATHON ON 06th OCTOBER 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau along with the Lanka Sportreizen will be organizing the 13th Colombo Marathon on 06th October 2013.
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MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS PROF. G.L. PEIRIS DISCUSSES SRI LANKAN ISSUES WITH FOREIGN MINISTER OF GERMANY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris, during his bilateral discussions in Berlin with Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, emphasized that conditions in Sri Lanka today are conducive to significant expansion of trade and investment relations between the two countries. Germany, he pointed out, is the second largest investor from the European Union in Sri Lanka, a very significant source of tourism, and the largest source of grant and soft loan assistance from the European Union to Sri Lanka. In these circumstances, it is important for Germany to be fully informed, Minister Peiris said, about current developments in Sri Lanka.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

Statement by H.E. Ravinatha Aryasinha Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the International Counter-Terrorism Focal Points Conference on Addressing Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism and Promoting Regional Cooperation - Geneva, 13 June 2013

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka reaffirms its commitment to the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and is pleased to participate in this International Counter-Terrorism Focal Points Conference which is part of the CTITF Global Initiative on implementing the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy of 2006, which serves as a blueprint embraced by all member states of the United Nations in providing a comprehensive and integrated approach to counter terrorism.
Full statement...

 

 

 

 

Hon.Chandima Weerakkody Paid a Courtesy Call on Hon. André Flahaut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Multi Party Parliamentary delegation led by Hon. Chandima Weerakkody, was in Brussels from 26-31st of May, at the invitation extended by the Delegation for Relations with the Countries in South Asia (DSAS) of the European Parliament.
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Parliament of the European Union can help the Efforts of Sri Lanka in Rebuilding the Country, says the Deputy Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the invitation extended by the Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia (DSAS) of the European Parliament, a cross party delegation from Sri Lanka led by Hon. Chandima Weerakkody, MP, Deputy Speaker and comprising Hon. Muthu Sivalingam, MP, Deputy Minister of Economic Development representing the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Hon. Sudath Neranjan Wickremasinghe, MP, of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, MP, of the United National Party (UNP), Hon. Sunil Handunneththi, MP, of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) visited the European Parliament in Brussels. During their five-days official visit from 27-31 May, the delegation also held a wide range of discussions with the elected members of the European Parliament and officials of other key EU institutions. The Head of Mission to the European Union, Ambassador P.M. Amza and the officials of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels as well as Mr. Neil Iddawala, Deputy Secretary General of Parliament associated with the delegation during their meetings.
Read more...
More photos...

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka National Statement delivered by Ambassador Aryasinha at the 23rd Session of the HRC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) delivering the national statement on Monday (27 May 2013), apprised the Council of progress with regard to reconciliation in Sri Lanka since its last session in March 2013, Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Council and its mechanisms and on Sri Lanka’s position with regard to thematic issues of relevance to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Sri Lanka delegation to the 23rd session includes Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva, Mr. Buwaneka Aluwihare, Deputy Solicitor General, and Ms. Priyanga Wickramasinghe, Counsellor in Geneva. The session which commenced on 27th May will continue until 14th June.
Read full text of the statement...

 

 

 

 

President in China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently on a four-day state visit to China met Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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International Day of Vesak celebrated at the United Nations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United Nations in New York commemorated the International Day of Vesak in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 54/115 at a well-attended ceremony held in the renovated ECOSOC Chamber in the Conference Building.

Sri Lanka chaired the commemoration which was addressed by the Representatives of the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, both of whom sent messages from Addis Ababa, and the Permanent Representatives and Deputy Permanent Representatives of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. A special message from His Holiness the Pope was also distributed. Videos depicting Vesak celebrations and religious observances from these countries were also screened in the ECOSOC Chamber.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

VESAK CELEBRATED IN BRUSSELS WITH PARTICIPATION OF INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST COMMUNITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorated with Buddhist flags, scores of colourful Vesak lanterns, and also other decors presented by several Buddhist countries, gave an ambiance of a temple and serene atmosphere to the Sri Lankan Residence in Brussels, on the evening of Sunday 26th May, when the Embassy of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Mission to the European Union marked the noble Day of Vesak.
Press release...
Photos...

 

 

 

 

“This land will remain ours, there is no room for separation” - President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka celebrated the fourth anniversary of the victory in the humanitarian operation with the Victory Day parade at Galle Face - in the capital of Colombo, on the 18th of May 2013, under the patronage of the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The massive Humanitarian Victory Day parade with the participation of the troops who actively took part during the final stages of the war against the rebels, took place following the president’s speech. There was also a two-minute silence in memory of 24,000 security force personnel who died during the conflict, which ended in 2009.Addressing the event, President Rajapaksa said, “We will not allow a single inch of the land that you won by the sacrifice of your life to be taken away. There will be no room for separation”
Full Speech...

 

 

 

 

Intervention by the Ambassador P.M. Amza, Head of Mission to the European Union, at the Screening of the “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” at the Premises of the European Parliament on 14 May 2013

 

 

 

 

The Government of Sri Lanka strongly protests the use of the premises of the European Parliament for screening of this film today. My presence here is to reject the contents of this film and to make a brief statement. I would like to stress that my presence is in no way meant to give credence to either the event or the documentary.
Read more...
Media Release...

 

 

 

 

President’s visit to Uganda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is currently on an official visit to Uganda. President Mahinda Rajapaksa held bilateral discussions with the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the State House in the town of Entebbe, Kampala, yesterday (12) and discussed key issues of mutual interest to the two nations. The visit will end on the 14th of May.

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka’s Second International Airport opens

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka’s second international airport- the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Hambantota was inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (18 March).

A special SriLankan Airlines flight carrying President Mahinda Rajapaksa landed at the new Airport. Therefore the president was recorded as the first passenger of the new Airport.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

President met with the Japanese Emperor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently on a four-day official visit to Japan met with Emperor Akihito on the 14th of March 2013

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received the President and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at the Imperial Palace and hosted a lunch in honour of the President.

 

 

 

 

Ambassador meets Governor of West Flanders Mr.Carl Decaluwe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador P.M.Amza met with the Governor of West Flanders, Mr.Carl Decaluwe recently. During the meeting the Ambassador and Governor discussed the possible cooperation between West Flanders province and Sri Lanka, which includes the possible cooperation between the Port of Zeebrugge in West Flanders and Magampura Port in Hambantota in Sri Lanka.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

“SRI LANKA HAS OVER COME A DIFFICULT PAST AND ITS THE TIME TO MOVE FORWARD” ROBERT STRUDY, MEP AT EU - SRI LANKA BUSINESS COUNCIL (EUSLBC) LAUNCH IN BRUSSELS .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Leaders from across Europe joined in Brussels by a delegation of top businessmen from Sri Lanka for the launch of the EU - Sri Lanka Business Council (EUSLBC).

The Council was formed in November 2012 with the aim to foster co-operation in trade and investment between Sri Lanka and Europe. The launch event, part of a three day visit by Sri Lankan delegates, included speeches from key governmental and business figures, seminars on investment support and opportunities to build lasting links between European and Sri Lankan businesses present.
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EU - Sri Lanka Joint Readmission Committee meets in Colombo

 

 

 

 

On 18th February 2013, the Joint Readmission Committee(JRC) under the EU – Sri Lanka Readmission Agreement convened its first meeting in Colombo, since the signing of the Agreement in June 2004 and its entry into force on 1st May 2005.
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“Our Resolve to Strengthen the Existing Relations with the EU and move forward remains undiminished“ says Ambassador Amza at the Independence Day Reception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking at the National Day Reception held on 05 February 2013, on the Occasion of the 65th Aniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka, attended by the members of the Diplomatic Corp, officers of the Belgium Government and the European Institutions and the prominent personalities, held at the Hotel Radisson Blue Royal, Ambassador Amza stated that “Sri Lanka’s relations with the Europe is closely linked to over 400 years of European presence in Sri Lanka. The vibrant cultural, social, educational and livelihood affiliations that exists even to date, speaks volumes. As sovereign nation states, we may be taking different paths to achieve same goals of good governance, social justice, equity and stability. On that account, our resolve to strengthen the existing relations and move forward remains undiminished”.
Read more...
Flag Hoisting Ceremony - 4th February 2013...
National Day Reception - 4th February 2013...
National Day Reception at the Radisson Blu - 5th of February 2013...

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka inks Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation With Luxemburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTA) between Sri Lanka and Luxembourg was signed on 31St January in Luxembourg. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxemburg and the Head of Mission to the European Union, H.E Mr. P.M. Amza, signed the Agreement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka while Hon. Luc Frieden, Minister of Finance of Luxemburg signed it on behalf of the Government of Luxembourg. The signing of the DTA took place following the presentation of the Letters of Credence by Ambassador Amza, to Grand Duchy of Luxemburg on 30th January
Read more...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invitation for 65th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

On the Occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels cordially invites all Sri Lankans to the Official Flag Hoisting Ceremony and a Multi-Religious Observance at 10.00 a.m. on Monday, 4th February 2013, at the Embassy of Sri Lanka Rue Jules Lejeune 27, 1050 Brussels, & for the Reception at 6.00 p.m. on the same day, at the Sri Lanka Residence Avenue Lequime 52, 1640 Rhode-Saint Genese

Contact : MS Menaka
Email : menaka.kandanage@srilankaembassy.be or
Tel : +32 02 344 53 94 / +32 02 340 89 89

Invitation...

 

 

 

 

Thaipongal Celebrations 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels along with the Sri Lankan community living in Belgium, organized a Thai Pongal Celebrations on the 12th of January at the Embassy premises. It was attended by several Sri Lankan nationals living in Belgium along with the 2 Honorary Consuls in Antwerp and Luxembourg.

The preparation of the Pongal following the traditions practiced in Sri Lanka was a significant event during the celebrations. Hindu religious observance were conducted by Pandit Harinath Sharma. Pandit Sharma during the religious observance blessed the President and the People of Sri Lanka. H.E.P.M Amza, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium and Luxembourg and the Head of Mission to European Union, in his speech explained the significance of Thai Pongal and the rich culture and heritage behind the celebrations. Ambassador stressed that Sri Lanka is a multi cultural and multi ethnic country and it belongs to all Sri Lankans. In this context he invited all Sri Lankans living in Belgium and Luxembourg , particularly to the Tamil community to make the Sri Lanka Embassy as a place of their own.
More pictures...

 

 

 

 

Thaipongal Celebrations 2013

 

 

 

 

We cordially invite all Sri Lankans living in Belgium and Luxembourg to participate in the Thaipongal Celebrations on Saturday 12th of January 2013, at 10.00 am at the Embassy of Sri Lanka, 27, Rue Jules Lejeune, 1050 Brussels.

 

 

 

 


Please confirm your participation to the embassy via
Email : reception@srilankaembassy.be or
Tel : +32 02 344 55 85
to Mr. John Weemaels on or before 9th of January 2013.

 

 

 

 

The Commencement of Work in the Year 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The members of the Staff of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels commenced their first day of work on the 02nd January 2013 at a ceremonial event organised at the Embassy.
Read more...

 

 

 

 

Christmas Celebrations 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels along with the Sri Lankan community living in Belgium, organized a Christmas Carol on the 21st of December at the Embassy premises. It was attended by several Sri Lankan nationals living in Belgium. Prayers were conducted in all languages including Flemish and French. Prayers were conducted for the Peace and Prosperity for all Sri Lankans. A Special prayer was conducted for those affected by the recent natural disaster.
More Pictures...

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Amza met Ms. Cathy Berx, Governor of the Province of Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Amza met Ms. Cathy Berx, Governor of the Province of Antwerp recently. During the meeting, the Ambassador briefed the Governor of the recent developments in Sri Lanka and the progress made after end of the conflict in 2009. The discussion also centered on the possible co-operation between Sri Lanka and Antwerp in selected fields. Ms. Monique De Decker-Deprez, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Antwerp and Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Minister/Head of Chancery accompanied by the Ambassador.
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“ Ambassador Amza writes to Diplomatic World on Tea”

 

 

 

 

“When Sri Lanka was under the British Empire, the British planters grew coffee in Sri Lanka. The coffee plantation survived only for 15-20 years. It was destroyed by a leaf disease(fungus) and after that they were looking for an alternative crop. This took place in early 1850’s”
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Sri Lanka to Host CHOGM in 2013

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka and Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced that the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 15 to 17 November 2013.

CHOGM is held every two years and is the Commonwealth’s highest consultative and policy-making body. Commonwealth leaders agreed on Sri Lanka as the 2013 host for the meeting when they met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in 2009. They reaffirmed this decision at the 2011 CHOGM in Perth, Australia.
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Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka receives Honorary Membership at the 10th World Congress of Consuls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Arnold Foote, President of FICAC, Honorary Consul General of Turkey to Jamaica and Mr. Aykut Eken, Honorary Consul General of Jamaica to Turkey, Secretary General of FICAC.

Mrs.Monique De Decker-Deprez, Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Belgium participated at the 10th World Congress of Consuls in the Principality of Monaco on 12th and 13th November 2012.

During the Congress she had the privilege to become Honorary Member of FICAC ( World Federation of Consuls ) and had also been decorated by Mr. Arnold Foote, President of FICAC.

 

 

 

 

SRI LANKA HOSTED ASIA PACIFIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION (APWA) -BRUSSELS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The monthly meeting of the Asia Pacific Women’s Association (APWA) was hosted by Mrs.Saleema Amza, spouse of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Brussels, at the Sri Lanka Residence for the month of November.

Demonstration of the draping of the “Kandyan Saree” by the Sri Lanka embassy staff during the event attracted many members.

The invitees were served with Sri Lankan “short eats”, sweet meats along with a cup of Ceylon Tea.
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President hails Satellite take off; says it is a major beginning for Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to mark the launch of the satellite said he shares the pride and joy of all Sri Lankans as the country moves to the realm of space taking the SupremeSAT 1 satellite into orbit carrying the national flag into the new frontier of space. “This is a major beginning for Sri Lanka to benefit from space technology in communications, and give the country a strong position in satellite and space industry in the South Asian region,” the President said.

The SupremeSAT-1 satellite is designed to provide “Direct to Home” (DTH) Television services to the South Asian region and will cater to the fast growing DTH industry both in Sri Lanka and the region, bringing affordable TV, especially to rural communities. The President also emphasised that it was noteworthy that SupremeSAT Ltd., that is launching this satellite is a wholly Sri Lankan owned company with an investment commitment of $ 320 million. The launch of SupremeSAT-1 is a result of a partnership the Sri Lankan company has with the China Satellite Communications Co. Ltd., he added.

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka is becoming a great business attraction to Belgian entrepreneurs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 Belgian company representatives who participated at an interactive business workshop organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels in collaboration with Brussels Enterprises Commerce & Industry (BECI), Walloon Investment & Trade (AWEX) an Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) on 21st November 2012, have shown a great interest in constructive business engagements with Sri Lanka. Objectives of this business workshop were to provide up to date business information and to facilitate exchange of views on business potential between Belgium importers/Investors that deal with Sri Lanka
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“Petrie Report”

 

 

 

 

The Ministry of External Affairs refers to the “Report of the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel on UN action in Sri Lanka” or the “Petrie Report” which was leaked to the media the day prior to its being formally handed over to the Secretary General on 14th November, and officially made public the same day. While this Report is an internal review of the UN’s action in Sri Lanka during the terrorist conflict, the Ministry’s attention has been drawn to certain issues with regard to allegations directed at the Government of Sri Lanka, which are regrettably unsubstantiated, erroneous and replete with conjecture
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SRI LANKA CALL FOR RESTRAINT

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka is deeply concerned and disturbed at the recent serious escalation of violence in Gaza and deeply regrets the loss of lives and the great suffering experienced by the people of Palestine.

Sri Lanka strongly believes the use of force and militaristic threats should be halted and that there is no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the conflict through peace talks.

We call upon both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to display restraint and avoid civilian casualties. It is hoped that the parties would continue to demonstrate leadership and political courage and keep open the door to peace.

 

 

 

 

Minister Samarasinghe’s opening statement at the 14th Session of the Working Group of the Universal Periodic Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka took place on the 1st of November 2012 at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, among Member States and Observers of the Human Rights Council. The country’s opening Statement was delivered to the Council by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries, and Special envoy of the President on Human Rights
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Ambassador P.M.Amza Presenting the Letter of Credence to the European Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador P.M.Amza, presented his Letter of Credence to President Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council on the 24th of October 2012

 

 

 

 

Lonely Planet names Sri Lanka as best to visit in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World’s most renowned and largest travel guide book and digital media publisher –“The Lonely Planet” has named Sri Lanka as number one destination in the world to visit in year 2013.

According to the report, from June 2011 to June 2012, Sri Lanka implemented the most regulatory reforms among the eight economies covered in South Asia, helping to create a better environment for local entrepreneurs.
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SL betters doing biz ranking

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka has claimed the highest spot in the global ease of doing business ranking in the South Asian region while bettering its ranking to 81 from 89, a report issued by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) showed.

According to the report, from June 2011 to June 2012, Sri Lanka implemented the most regulatory reforms among the eight economies covered in South Asia, helping to create a better environment for local entrepreneurs.

‘Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises’ report also ranked Sri Lanka among the 10 economies globally that improved the most in the past year across three or more areas measured by the report.

Singapore remained the easiest place in the world to do business, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United States.

In South Asia Maldives was ranked 95, Pakistan 107, Nepal 108, Bangladesh 129, India 132, Bhutan 138 and Afghanistan 168.

 

 

 

 

Ambassador P.M.Amza Presenting the Letter of Credence to the European Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador P.M.Amza Presented his Letter of Credence to President José Manuel Barroso of the European Commission on the 22nd of October 2012

 

 

 

 

President addresses at the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit in Kuwait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he recalls Sri Lanka proposing to the eighth ACD Ministerial Meeting held in Colombo in 2009 to take the ACD to the highest level of political participation by convening a Summit of the Heads of State or Government of Member Countries. He congratulated His Highness Amir of the State of Kuwait for making it a reality.

Though ACD is a unique regional organization, its activities are carried out through voluntary contributions and voluntary participation of the Member Countries. Although it has no binding Charter we are bound together by being Asian with strong bonds of understanding and friendship
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Ambassador P.M.Amza Presenting the Letter of Credence to His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.M.Amza, presented his Letter of Credence to His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium on the 3rd of October 2012

 

 

 

 

H.E. Ambassador P.M.Amza handing over Commission of Appointment to Mr.Arjan Kirthisingha appointing him as Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Luxembourg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, Luxembourg and EU, H.E. Ambassador P.M.Amza handing over Commission of Appointment to Mr.Arjan Kirthisingha appointing him as Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Luxembourg on the 11th of October 2012.

Mr.Arjan Kirthisingha (ACA) is a leading Businessman and is the Financial Controller at Anglo American PLC in Luxembourg. He is in the Board of Directors of over 30 Luxembourg companies and 15 Dutch companies.
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Developing Nations Require Greater Focus in International System

 

 

Professor G.L. Peiris addressing UN General Assembly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka believes that in the settlement of international disputes, action must be based on the fundamental principle of sovereign equality of states, a principle firmly enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, stated Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs in his address yesterday to the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly. He regretted that the noticeable recent tendency to selectively and arbitrarily intervene in the internal affairs of States flies in the face of this principle, and dilutes the confidence so carefully nurtured in the UN system.

Dealing with the challenge of the global financial crisis, Minister Peiris emphasized that it is of the greatest importance to ensure that any strategies employed to achieve recovery, do not impose unjustifiable burdens on developing countries, as they strive to achieve better living conditions for their people. He stressed that a recovery without uplifting the developing countries simultaneously will be unsustainable. In this context, he regretted that it is paradoxical that it is the same countries where the financial crisis originated, which now seek to provide policy prescriptions to others. While observing that the voices of developing countries are an important element to this end, he stressed that there cannot be a “one size fits all” approach, and therefore the views of all and the experiences of the successful, especially the newly emerging economies, must be taken into account.
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Sri Lanka & the European Union signs the Horizontal Air Services Agreement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka and the European Union today (27 September 2012) signed the Agreement between the European Union and the Government of Sri Lanka on Certain Aspects of Air Services, which is commonly known as the ‘Horizontal’ Air Services Agreement, at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium. Ambassador P.M. Amza, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the European Union signed the Agreement on behalf of Sri Lanka, while Ambassador George Zodiates, Deputy Permanente Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU and Mr. Matthew Baldwin, Director Aviation and Transport Affairs signed the Agreement on behalf of the EU Presidency and the European Commission (EC) respectively.
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Sri Lanka Cricket highlights in the European Parliament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC)-Europe together with Hon. Syed Kamall, Member of the European Parliament representing UK, Chair of European Parliamentary cricket inter group and the International Cricket Council, hosted a two day event from 25-26 September 2012, at the European Parliament promoting the game of cricket within the European Parliament and in Europe.

A two day exhibition ‘cricket-take part’, a panel discussion and the launch of ‘Friends of Cricket in European Parliament’ group, were the highlights of this event.
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“Human Rights is inbuilt in our cultures and societies” - Ambassador Amza

 

 

 

 

“Human Rights are a matter of great concern to all of us, for some of us it is inbuilt in our cultures and societies. Politicizing such sensitive and important matters, by using double standards would not be helpful. My country has contributed to the formative stages of the institutional building process of the Human Rights Council, as one of its 47 pioneering Members, and therefore, we have always been consistent in engaging with the Council and its other instruments including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her envoys have just concluded a visit to Sri Lanka in preparation of a visit by the High Commissioner at our invitation, which we expect to happen sooner. We will participate at the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the second time, in early November this year, where all aspects of human rights in the country would be dealt adequately in an open and transparent manner” said Ambassador P.M. Amza while addressing the South Asia Delegation of the European Parliament, on 25 September 2012, on the occasion of the release of the report of Delegations' bureau visit to Sri Lanka in April-May 2012.
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The Buddha’s message of tolerance of all religions has great relevance today - President at Sanchi

 

 

 

 

The Buddha’s message of tolerance and understanding is of great relevance today, as we see the tragic results of enmity and hatred towards other faiths leading to violence and destruction, and great loss to societies. It is of equal importance in the East and West alike, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the ‘Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies’, at Madhya Pradesh, India, today.

He also said that “In practicing this message, the great Emperor Asoka, honoured and supported all religions in his empire. He declared that one should not honour only one’s own religion and condemn the religions of others, but one should honour the faiths of others, as well.”

“The federal structure and the emergence of states has not erased our vision of India as a single land of friendship with the great bonds of history. It is important to recall that we in Sri Lanka have always considered India as a friendly land and people. As in the past, our people still refer to India as Dambadiva and Jambudveepa and still undertake pilgrimages to Dambadiva. I believe this tradition of embracing all of India in friendship will continue to enrich our relations,” President Rajapaksa said.

“My journey to Sanchi today, is primarily an act of gratitude on behalf of the people of my country; I am here as a pilgrim, in veneration of sacred Sanchi, saluting and celebrating the glorious past of this region,” the President added.

 

 

 

 

Trade Mission from Wallonia, Belgium to further strengthen Trade and Investment relations
with Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newly appointed Ambassador to Belgium Mr. P.M. Amza and Mr. R.D.S. Kumararatne, Minister (Commercial & Economic Affairs) of the Embassy briefed the Belgium business representatives on business potential in Sri Lanka at a leading business seminar organized by Wallonia Investment and Trade (AWEX) in Brussels in this week. AWEX is the Investment and Trade Development Government Agency in the Walloon Region in Belgium. It has a worldwide network of 105 Trade and Investment counsellors, including 2 in India.
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Reflect current changes in global financial institutions – President at NAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global financial institutions must reflect the changes in the international arena today. In the face of numerous challenges, not only are many developing countries managing their economies successfully, but global financial power has also been shifting from the industrialized North to the power houses of the South. It is time that this shift begins to be reflected in the global structures, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran today.

“Unfortunately, developing countries still continue to get policy prescriptions from these very countries where economies and financial markets have been mismanaged. It is of the greatest importance to ensure that the proposed solutions do not impose unjustifiable burdens on developing nations,” President Rajapaksa said.

We are still burdened and seriously disadvantaged by the weight of the global crisis that originated in the financial hubs of the world. In many cases, financial markets and economies operated irresponsibly, bringing calamity to millions of lives, and disrupting the social fabric putting at risk, the future of the young. Unemployment and debt remain unsustainably high casting doubts on a speedy recovery,” he added.

It is indeed reassuring to note that the impact of the global financial crisis has been minimal in many of our countries in the South due to lessons from previous crises and the sagacity with which we managed our economies. I take modest pride in the fact that Sri Lanka is one of the economies in Asia where impressive successes have been recorded during these turbulent times, the President said.
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Resettlement process in final stage

 

 

 

 

The Government has begun the final stage of resettlement process for the remaining internally displaced person (IDP) families in the Northern Province.

The Minister of Resettlement Gunaratne Weerakoon said the remaining displaced persons in the Menik Farm Welfare Village in Vavuniya will be resettled within the next few weeks.