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Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Republic of Poland Dhammika Kumari Semasinghe presents Letters of Credence to President Andrzej Duda
Ambassador Dhammika Kumari Semasinghe, presented the Letters of Credence to H.E. Mr. Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, on 6 July 2021. The formal presentation ceremony was followed by a meeting between the Ambassador and the President of Poland.
President Duda welcoming Ambassador Semasinghe, appreciated the longstanding ties with Sri Lanka, and stated that Poland was keen to proactively expand the scope of bilateral cooperation for mutually beneficial and tangible outcomes. He said that direct air-connectivity, established since 2019 between Warsaw and Colombo by LOT Polish Airlines, was bound to catalyse and increase two-way trade and tourism, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Duda was hopeful of Sri Lanka providing greater opportunities for Polish investors and businesses to diversify the existing export-import product lines. He underlined that Polish tourists were able and willing to travel to Sri Lanka, and expressed the hope that Sri Lanka would ‘open ‘ its tourism sector as early as possible to accommodate the enthusiastic visitors. He also provided an overview of Poland’s foreign policy interests, including as a member of the European Union.
Ambassador Semasinghe, conveying greetings and best wishes from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka to President Duda, re-affirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to further advance and transform her six decades long bilateral engagement with Poland, a key Central European country and EU member, into a multifaceted and results-oriented partnership.
Focusing on President Rajapaksa’s people centric, knowledge driven and ‘pro-business’ national policy framework, Ambassador Semasinghe highlighted the potential investment opportunities available for Polish businesses in Sri Lanka’s prioritised areas. These included agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy farming and use of organic fertilizers, renewable energy, IT and related services (BPO/KPO), Colombo Port City, hospitality industry, manufacturing (especially electronics), foreign employment and niche market investments in spices, tea, rubber and coconut. The envoy underlined that Sri Lanka welcomed foreign investments that had a ‘transformational impact’ on its economy, thereby establishing its global image as an important investment destination.
Welcoming President Duda’s statement in Warsaw that COVID -19 vaccines should be made ‘a universal good’ with easy and affordable access, Ambassador Semasinghe provided a brief overview of the Government’s Covid-19 infection mitigation programme, and President Rajapaksa’s concerted efforts to vaccinate at least 13 million Sri Lankans by September this year, and the challenges encountered in that process.
Ambassador Semasinghe also expressed the hope that the Government of Poland would consider opening a diplomatic mission in Colombo, given the promising prospects for increased bilateral trade and business activities, two-way tourism and people-people to linkages.
Secretary of State of the International Policy Bureau of the Presidential Chancellery, Mr. Krzysztof Szczerski, and Undersecretary of State for Security, the Americas, Asia and Eastern Policy, Mr. Marcin Przydacz also attended the meeting.
Prior to the current assignment, Ambassador Semasinghe was the Director General for Europe and Central Asia, and European Union and Commonwealth at the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry. She is a career diplomat (class of 1996) with 25 years of both bilateral and multilateral diplomatic experience, having served in different capacities in the political, economic and multilateral sections of the Foreign Ministry, and abroad, in the Sri Lanka Missions in New York, Washington, DC and New Delhi.
During her diplomatic assignment in New York, Ambassador Semasinghe covered work of the Third Committee and UN Security Council. She was a lead member of the team that successfully steered Sri Lanka’s delisting from the UN Secretary General’s “Naming and Shaming List” in the Annexes to the Children And Armed Conflict (CAAC) Reports of the Security Council in December 2013. She also contributed substantively to raise Sri Lanka’s image on youth affairs at the United Nations.
Ambassador Semasignhe began her undergraduate studies in political science at the Peradeniya University, Kandy, and was awarded the opportunity to complete her degree in International Relations and Public Policy at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA. She has a Master’s in International Public Policy from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, USA
Ambassador Semasinghe was born in Nikaweratiya, and hails from Thimbiriyawa in the Nikaweratiya Pradeshiya Sabha in Sri Lanka’s North Western Province.