President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a state visit to Japan to further strengthening the long standing bilateral relations between the two countries, met with Emperor Akihito today (13).
President Maithripala Sirisena and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena were given a warm welcome by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko when they arrived at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Later, both the leaders engaged in a cordial discussion.
The Japanese Emperor expressed his pleasure over the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena and said that the long-standing ties between the two countries will be further consolidated as a result of this visit.
President Srirsena expressed his thanks to Emperor Akito for the invitation extended to him to visit Japan and said that it is his expectation to strengthen the relations between the two countries in every sphere.
The Emperor, recalled the memories of his visit to Sri Lanka in 1981 said that he was privileged for the opportunity to visit the historical temple of the sacred tooth relic in Kandy.
He also mentioned with gratitude the high appreciation and welcome he received from the Sri Lankan people.
The Emperor of Japan who acknowledged the assistance provided by Sri Lankans in the time where Japan faced natural disasters mentioned that Japan is ready to provide assistance to Sri Lanka anytime.
After the meeting, Emperor Akihito joined President Sirisena in his tour of the historical Imperial Mansion.
An Investment Forum was held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, today (13) under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena to take Sri Lanka- Japan partnership to new heights as well as to bring more Japanese investments.
Investors and entrepreneurs from both countries attended this Investment Forum and attention was drawn regarding further strengthening the economic ties between the two countries.
At this Forum the President said that there are many investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and he invited the Japanese investors to get benefit from Sri Lanka’s investment opportunities.
Addressing the investors the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama said that for many decades, Sri Lanka is working closely with Japan in various fields and hope this tour of President Sirisena will pave the way to further consolidate those ties between the two countries.
Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Mr. Masaki Ogushi also participated in this Forum.
Later the Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Hiroyuki Ishige met with President Maithripala Sirisena.
The Chairman apprised regarding the trade and investment services of JETRO in Sri Lanka to the President and said that they expect to further expand those activities in the country.
The president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka also met with President Sirisena. During this meeting it was discussed in detail regarding the functioning and the progress of the development projects being carried out in Sri Lankan with the assistance of the JICA.
Expressing his views in regard of this the President said that the policy of his government is to give a prominent place for the local industries while obtaining foreign assistance. The President requested the President of JICA to assist in projects which can inspire the people as a country to stand on their own feet. He also said that What is more important to Sri Lanka today is the Small and Medium Scale Development Projects which could uplift the economic standards of the masses.
During this meeting the President of the JICA pledged to provide assistance in developing the tourism field of the country.
President Maithripala Sirisena after attending the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Indian Prime Minister said that the participation of the Sri Lankan President in the ISA Summit is a privilege and requested the President to extend his assistance in delivering the message of the ISA Summit to the world.
The Prime Minister recalled that during the past few years the relations between the two countries was further strengthened and pointed out in future it is important to strengthen these bilateral relations between the two countries economically as well.
The Indian External Affairs Minister, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Ambassadors of both countries participated in this meeting.
Later, the President also met with Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
During this meeting, issues relating to the environmental conservation, weather and climate change and marine pollution were discussed and the President apprised regarding the specially designed programme to protect the environment of Sri Lanka.
President Sirisena explained regarding the programmes implemented to increase the forest density from the current 28% to 32% and further said that the Air Force has launched special monitoring programme for the protection of forests, and once in two weeks the Air Force submit a report in this regard to him.
The President further said about the steps that have been taken to control the use of plastic in Sri Lanka in a background where the marine pollution is a vast problem.
The President pointed out the environmental issues arises as a result of excavating soil for construction activities and requested Mr. Eric Solheim to introduce technological alternatives and proposals in this regard to our country.
During this meeting the relations between Norway and Sri Lanka was also recalled.
Mr. Eric Solheim appreciated the initiatives taken by Sri Lanka towards the protection on environment.
President Maithripala Sirisena expressed confidence that the International Solar Alliance (ISA) would showcase the power of the countries in this Alliance to bring about solutions to create a greener, cleaner and a healthy environment for people of this world.
Addressing the Founding Conference of the ISA Summit in New Delhi today (March 11), he said the deliberations of the Conference will navigate the joint efforts of the countries in the Alliance towards practical cooperation and expressed the hope that the rest of the Global community will join forces with the Alliance.
The President pointed out that the world’s population growth has caused an increase in the energy demand and said solar energy can alleviate this problem. “The energy crisis is a major problem faced by the people in Sri Lanka as well as by the people living in several developed and developing countries in the world,” he said.
Briefing the delegates about Sri Lanka’s initiatives in solar energy, President Sirisena said, “In Sri Lanka we have already commenced a programme called ‘Suriya Bala Sangramaya’ that is ‘a battle for Solar Power’. Through this project we expect to generate 1000 megawatt of electricity by the year 2025.”
He said that Sri Lanka is also in the process of developing 01 megawatts to 10-megawatt capacity solar power systems to assist small and medium level industries.
“I am very grateful to ISA and Prime Minister Modi for extending support for these major solar projects in Sri Lanka under this programme. This will benefit several homes, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and government facilities in my country,” he said.
President Sirisena thanked French President Macron and Indian Prime Minister Modi for their leadership to make the ISA initiative a success and pointed out the presence of such a large number of Government Heads and Government Representatives is a significance of the importance of ISA Summit.
He assured the world leaders about Sri Lanka’s strong commitment to support this Alliance.
I decided the make this special address today, as a tense situation has occurred during the last few days owing to several very unfortunate incidents in several parts of the country, causing disharmony and tensions among ethnic groups.
From the past, our country has experienced internal as well as external struggles. However, ours is a country where Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and all other communities have lived with peace, unity and harmony together. If we look at the decade of 1940, we know how we Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim people worked together like brethren to free our country from the grip of colonial masters. It was unfortunate that peace and unity among ethnic groups deteriorated, leaving the country in a situation of protracted war that brought about many a crisis.
You all know that we are a government that is dedicated to bring about national harmony and reconciliation. During the last few days, losses of lives and destruction of property in the areas of Ampara and Kandy, have given rise to a situation where the normalcy of everyday life of people in the country. I express my profound condolences to the families of the deceased and to those who lost their property. I strongly condemn all criminal activities. I have instructed the Police to take stern legal actions against those people, groups or organizations related in any way to these incidents.
I have also instructed the Police, Special Task Force, Army and public officers as well as regional politicians to act in a manner promoting peace and to contain tensions in order to create an environment where all people can live in harmony. In a moment like this, it is important that we all work together.
I want to mention here that the government is dedicated to take all actions necessary to strengthen national reconciliation, peace, trust and friendship among ethnic groups, taking cognizance of situations like this. All respectfully request from all Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian religious leaders to advice regional political leadership to promote and foster peace and harmony as well as to intervene to restore concord and amity whenever tensions arise in their areas. I emphasize the fact the Police, Special Task Force as well as the Army has been deployed round the clock from yesterday to restore normalcy in the affected areas.
These steps were taken in a special meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the prevailing situation and a formal programme has been prepared for future actions after a meeting with Prime Minister and the Cabinet. As such, I request every citizen of this country to act peacefully in this situation.
Na hi verena verani
averena ca sammanti
esa dhammo sanantano
(Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an eternal law).
We know as Buddhists that Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred. Therefore, as a Buddhist country, whatever hatred or violence perpetrated brings shame to our country. At the same time, I request from everybody, including Hindu, Islam and Christian devotees to find peace and harmony within their religious philosophy and to work together to strengthen our freedom and to achieve economic prosperity, in a peaceful manner.
In order to strengthen political stability in the country as well as to restore peace, amity and concord among all ethnic groups in the country, I must mention that the government is committed to take all necessary actions, while taking the strictest legal actions against whatever party perpetrating violence.
At the same time, we observe that some are trying to disturb peace and unleash misinformation and hatred via social media, rumours and telephone calls. We will take stern actions against them.
I consider this an important opportunity to emphasize that I will do everything it takes to restore a free and a peaceful environment in this motherland, which is yours and mine, in order to everybody to live a happy life.
At the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Special Envoy of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan will undertake an official visit from 5 – 7 March 2018.
The visit is of particular significance since Sri Lanka acceded to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention on 13 December 2017 becoming its 163rd State Party. The ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction’, typically referred to as the ‘Ottawa Convention’ or ‘Mine Ban Treaty’, seeks to end the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs) worldwide. It was opened for signature on December 3, 1997, and it entered into force on March 1, 1999. Currently the convention has 164 state parties.
During his visit to Sri Lanka, the Special Envoy will call on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana. He is also scheduled to undertake a field visit to the Northern Province, accompanied by the Minister of Rehabilitation and Resettlement, D.M Swaminathan, where he will witness firsthand the mine clearance activities being carried out and interact with agencies that clear mines as well as landmine victims.
The Special Envoy’s visit provides an opportunity for Sri Lanka to demonstrate the work that has been done so far in mine clearance, and plans to make the country mine free by the year 2020. In this context, the Special Envoy is expected to meet with the UN Country Team, civil society and other stakeholders to discuss further assistance for mine clearance and mine victims in Sri Lanka.
On Tuesday 6 March at 5.30 p.m., the Special Envoy will deliver a lecture at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies on ‘The Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines: Asia’s Opportunities and Challenges’.
Since 2004, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein has served as the Chair of Jordan’s National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation. After being appointed in 2009 as the Special Envoy to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, he has worked extensively with the UN and member countries to promote the banning of anti- personnel mines, worldwide.
A twelve-member business delegation, comprising of more than ten Sri Lankan companies in the fields of trade, investment and tourism and led by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vasantha Senanayake visited Warsaw, Poland from 15th to 17th February 2018.
The visit was organized and coordinated by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Warsaw in association with the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Export Development Board. This delegation was the single largest Sri Lankan business delegation to ever have visited Poland, paving the way for Poland and Sri Lanka to enhance commercial ties.
On February 15th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland organized a familiarization tour (FAM) for the Sri Lankan business delegation. The group visited the Ptak Warsaw Expo and the Mazovia Voivodeship office. The Warsaw Expo is the largest International Exhibition and Conference Center in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe. It is dedicated to organizing fairs, congresses, conferences and commercial events. The delegation also attended a business seminar and presentation, organized by the Mazovia Voivodeship office for Investment and Export, where they learned about business opportunities and methods of conducting business in Poland.
On February 16th, the Sri Lankan delegation participated in the Business Forum, organized by the Polish Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Warsaw.
Guests of the event included the Sri Lankan State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vasantha Senanayake, representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Investment and Economy Development, Enterprise and Technology, State Secretary, Ms. Grace Asirwatham, Sri Lankan Ambassador in Warsaw, Tissa Wijeratne, Vice President of the Polish Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Marek Kłoczko, and business communities of the two countries, including representatives from more than 40 Polish companies.
The forum was moderated by Ambassador Jerzy Drozdz, Director of the Foreign Relations Department of the Polish Chamber of Commerce. On this day, the State Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke of the liberalization of the Sri Lankan economy and open policies created by the Sri Lankan government for foreign investors. He also invited businesses to increase the potential for economic and trade relations between Poland and Sri Lanka.
Through his speech, Mr. Marek Kioczko, Vice President of the Polish Chamber of Commerce, introduced Sri Lanka as “a country that gives us a feeling of closeness, to Poland and Polish economic development strategies will create a powerful combination for new growth opportunities for both countries.”
The speeches of the other participants were dedicated to the Sri Lanka–Polish cooperation in the spheres of trade, construction, infrastructure, agriculture, green energy and machine-building and additionally to improve existing bilateral trade between the two countries and tap into the vast potential and opportunities that exist in many other fields including tourism. After the panels, the Sri Lankan business delegation had the opportunity to hold B2B meetings.
On February 16th, the Embassy of Sri Lanka organized a Sri Lanka-Poland business promotional event at the Embassy premises named “Discovering business opportunities in Sri Lanka”, with the support of the Polish-Asia Chamber of Commerce, the Polish–India Chamber of Commerce and the Polish business community. More than 80 representatives from Sri Lankan and Polish business organizations attended the event.
The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign affairs, Ms. Asirwatham, gave a detailed presentation on the opportunities for trade, investment, and tourism in Sri Lanka. The participants were additionally briefed on the latest economic developments in Sri Lanka. Ambassador Wijeratne spoke about the rapidly growing cooperation between Sri Lanka and Poland in the areas of trade, agriculture, and food industry and about the opportunities for trade and investment in both countries.
He also reported on the growth of trade between Poland and Sri Lanka, including an increase in total trade (USD 130 million) by 39% in 2016, an increase in Polish exports to Sri Lanka by 32% and an increase in Sri Lankan exports to Poland by 10% compared to the previous year.
Mr. Anura Siriwardena, Director General of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, presented on the “Sri Lanka Tea Industry – A success story”. The Presidents of the Polish–Asia Chamber of Commerce and Polish–India Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders focused on the importance of seeking new opportunities and identifying areas of growth to enhance the Poland-Sri Lanka business cooperation.
The Polish–Sri Lanka Business Association was also launched by a group of Polish and Sri Lankan businessman and professionals in order to promote business interest between the two countries. At the conclusion of the event, the Sri Lankan business delegation had the opportunity to hold B2B meetings with many Polish companies.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake visited Poland from 15 to 16February at the invitation of the Government of Poland to conduct bilateral consultations to explore ways and means to promote political and economic relations.
State Minister Senanayake and the Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Marek Magierowski held bilateral consultations on 15February which covered areas such as cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, tourism, education, air connections, sports, green technology, maritime, combatting climate change, increasing people to people contact and other areas of common interest. The State Minister emphasized that the two countries should cash in on the conducive economic conditions prevailing in Sri Lanka and Poland to intensify the economic cooperation for the benefit of their peoples.
The State Minister also met with Mr. Jan Widera, Deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism and explored the possibility of establishing cooperation in the field of tourism for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Further the State Minister Senanayake called on Mr. Tadeusz Koscinski, Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology and exchanged views on developing cooperation in technology and services.
During the visit the two countries signed a bilateral agreement on Air Transport and a Memorandum of Understanding on Sports. State Minister Senanayake was accompanied by a business delegation who participated in a Business Forum organized by the Polish Chamber of Commerce and engaged in B2B meetings on 16February. The private sector representatives of the two countries were advised to continue their interaction for creating business awareness for sustained trade cooperation.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Warsaw, Poland, Tissa Wijerathne, State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Ms. Grace Asirwatham, and Assistant Director of the Foreign Ministry Ms. Priyangani Hewarathna, were associated with the State Minister during the visit.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Warsaw celebrated the 70th Anniversary in a dignified manner with the Sri Lankans living in Poland on Sunday, February 4th, 2018.
The Official Programme started with the hoisting of the National Flag by Ambassador Tissa Wijeratne, the singing of the National Anthem, the lighting of the traditional oil lamp and the observance of two minutes silence in remembrance of all Sri Lankans who had sacrificed their lives for the motherland. The event also honored the multi-religious culture by representing the four main religions of Sri Lanka: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity
The national day messages of H.E. President Maithripala Sirisena, Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge and Hon. Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana were recited in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages, respectively.
The Ambassador, in his address, highlighted the historical importance of the day and cordial and cooperative relations that have existed between Sri Lanka and Poland. He said the two countries are closely cooperating with each other in many areas and it will open a new chapter in the bilateral-commercial relationship as well as boost trade ties between the two countries.
The 70th Independence Day celebrations were held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Galle Face Green, yesterday. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and the Countess of Wessex, representing the Queen, were the special guests.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena and Prof. Maitree Wickramasinghe as well as Ministers, Deputy Ministers, members of the Opposition, members of Parliament, Governors, Chief Ministers, the Chief Justice, Secretary to the President Austin Fernando, public servants, religious leaders, foreign dignitaries and other guests graced the occasion. (CDN)