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Tilak Marapana is new Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka

Posted on 19 August 2017 by admin

Newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, Tilak Marapana assumed duties today at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Standing at extreme right is Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam. FM received blessings of religious dignitaries and well wishers.

The Minister also serves as the Development Assignments Minister.

He assumed the post as the Foreign Minister following former Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation.

 

Tilak Marapana was sworn in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs before President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday.

Marapana, a President’s Counsel, is a former Attorney General who retired prematurely with the change of Government in 1994. He thereafter practised on the unofficial bar and enjoyed an extensive and lucrative practice when in 2001 he was appointed the Minister of Defence in the UNP Government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

Later, with the demise of Gamini Atukorale, he was also appointed the Minister of Highways, Transport and Civil Aviation.

In 2015, following the last General Election, Marapana was appointed as the Minister of Law and Order. Consequent to a speech made by him in Parliament in which he explained the use of firearms stored in a ship chartered by Avant Garde and following allegations that he could interfere with the ongoing investigations against Avant Garde, he resigned from his portfolio until the conclusion of the investigation. 

In May this year Marapana was once again appointed to the Cabinet as the Minister of Development Assignments, a new ministry set up to monitor all ongoing development projects, both foreign and local.

Marapana as the Attorney General led the Sri Lanka delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva on successive sessions from 1992-1994 and successfully prevented the passage of a resolution against Sri Lanka on human rights issues. 

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Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No.05 of 2016

Posted on 02 August 2017 by admin

Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No.05 of 2016.

The Government of Sri Lanka brought into operation the Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No. 05 of 2016 on 26th April 2016. The aim of this Act is to provide special legal provisions for persons who could not initiate legal proceedings to recover their immovable properties as a result of terrorist activities in Sri Lanka during the period from 1st May 1983 to 18th May 2009.

The period of operation of this act expires on 26th April 2018.

Any person who wishes to claim immovable properties through the provisions of this Act, such claim should be submitted before 26th April 2018.

Trilingual electronic copies of the Act are available on the official website of the Ministry of Justice of Sri Lanka at http://moj.gov.lk. Copies are attached.

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Collection of Biometrics from Passport Applicants Applying through Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions

Posted on 02 August 2017 by admin

Collection of Biometrics from Passport Applicants Applying through Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions

Kindly be informed that all passport applicants, applying through Sri Lanka Missions overseas from 1st November 2017, will be required to provide their biometric information (fingerprint and digital face image) to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, upon their first entry to Sri Lanka after obtaining their passports. At present biometrics are not collected from applicants who submit passport applications through Sri Lanka Missions overseas. Mandatory collection of biometrics of passport applicants in Sri Lanka was initially introduced a system of on 15th August 2015. This system is being extended to all passport applicants in order to strengthen the integrity of the passport issuance process. Necessary facilities will be available at the Department’s Head Office and branches in Sri Lanka including at airports, to complete this process to minimize inconvenience caused to the applicants.

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Series of new appointments – Government of Sri Lanka

Posted on 04 July 2017 by admin

Mr. Austin Fernando  New Secretary to the President.

 Courtesy:   

Mr. Austin Fernando  New Secretary to the President

  • Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne new Defence Secretary

  • Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake new Commander of Army

  • Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama was sworn in as the Governor of Eastern Province

The Governor of the Eastern Province, Mr. Austin Fernando has been appointed as the new Secretary to the President and he received his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence, today (July 04).

He is one of the most senior civil servants of the country and he holds Masters (MA) in Public Administration from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Earlier in his illustrious career, he served as the Government Agent for Polonnaruwa District and Nuwara Eliya District. He was later appointed as the Commissioner of Cooperative Development and Postmaster General. He became the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Rehabilitation, Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs and Provincial Councils. He was appointed as the Defence Secretary in the Unity Government. 

Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne and Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake were appointed as the new Defence Secretary and the new Commander of Army respectively.  

Former Foreign Minister, Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama was sworn in as the Governor of Eastern Province before President Maithripala Sirisena. This position became vacant due to the resignation of former Governor, Mr. Austin Fernando. 

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Government of Sri Lanka to shut diplomatic missions

Posted on 26 June 2017 by admin

Govt. to shut diplomatic missions.

2017-06-26.

Several Sri Lankan Missions abroad including some of those in Europe would be closed down soon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake said yesterday.

He was explaining the Government's plans to make changes in its diplomatic mechanism.

He said it would be done after assessing the performance and looking at the rationale behind keeping these missions.

Minister Karunanayake, who came up with this information at a media briefing yesterday morning said some Sri Lankan diplomatic missions in Europe would have to be closed down in the future.

“We will have to close down some missions as those have found to be of no use lately," the Minister said

He said performance of all diplomatic mission heads would be assessed before making a final decision.

“The Government has decided to go for commercial based diplomacy and link to the world through establishing commercial based diplomatic ties with various countries across the globe," he added

Further the minister said

“Heads of all Sri Lankan diplomatic missions have been called for a meeting with the President and the Prime Minister on September 4 to brief them about the new policy,” he said.

He said three diplomatic heads had been already recalled.

However, the Minister refrained from divulging as who these mission heads were.

“We are not in a position to reveal the names of these diplomatic heads yet,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Karunanayake said only one person with vested interests was shouting against the Government’s move to put the National Lotteries Board under his purview.

“They may be shouting as I managed to turn the National Lotteries Board into a profit making venture, which was hit by financial losses,” he said.

“There have been instances where the Mahapola was under the Ministry of National Security during the time of late Lalith Athulathmudali and the National Lotteries Board was under the purview of Ministry of Science and Technology in the past.

“However a great din is made when the National Lotteries Board was placed under the purview of my Ministry,” he added. (Yohan Perera – Courtesy: The Daily Mirror).

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Press Release: Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake briefs Diplomatic Corps

Posted on 16 June 2017 by admin

 

 

 

 

 

On the direction of H.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena and Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hon. Minister Karunanayake directed the Foreign Ministry to respond to the emergency needs of the flood victims in coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management.  The Ministry Emergency Response Unit, activated on 26th May 2017, to coordinate international Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief measures, launched an appeal to the INSARG (International Search and Rescue Group) through the UN. The Foreign Ministry also appealed to countries in the region to obtain the services of Emergency Rescue Teams.

In response to Sri Lanka’s appeal, India immediately dispatched its naval ships “INS KIRCH”, “INS SHARDUL”, “INS Jalshawa” along with Search and Rescue teams and emergency relief materials. Pakistani Naval Ship “ZULFIQUAR” called at Colombo port as well with rescue teams and relief materials. Three Chinese vessels “Chang Chun”, “Jing Zhou” and “Chao Hu” which were originally on a goodwill mission to Sri Lanka and visited Colombo port on 1st June 2017, have changed their mission focus to relief measures.  A Humanitarian Assistance Chinese Flight with relief materials is   due to arrive on 3rd of June 2017 at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA)While Australia donated ten Zodiac inflatable boats to Sri Lanka, Japan handed over essential relief materials to the Disaster Management Ministry and offered the services of an Emergency Disaster Relief expert. Israel donated a consignment of relief goods. The EU, Norway, the US, Thailand and several other countries have offered assistance to Sri Lanka while Singapore, the Maldives and Nepal announced cash donations. 

Acting upon Sri Lanka’s appeal, the UN coordinated the international deployment of Search and Rescue (SAR) teams. 17 SAR teams, including India, China, France and Australia, were placed on alert to handle any adverse situation. The UN Agencies have also deployed their teams in disaster areas to work with the respective line Ministries and Agencies. The Foreign Ministry also directed its Overseas Missions to coordinate relief activities with Sri Lankan expatriates and community members.

Minister Karunanayake, at his first briefing session held for the Diplomatic Community and Honorary Consular Corps on 31st May 2017, thanked the countries for their generous and timely assistance. He also expressed his gratitude to the countries that sent messages of sympathy and expressed support for the people of Sri Lanka at this difficult time.

The Minister highlighted the challenges that lay ahead of Sri Lanka in handling the post flood recovery, reconstruction of affected areas, as well as building capacity for the Prevention and Mitigation of future disasters. He underlined the cooperation and assistance that Sri Lanka would expect from its bilateral and multilateral partners in implementing projects in these areas.

Minister Karunanayake reiterated that under his stewardship, Sri Lanka will pursue the policy of “Friendship with all and enmity with none”. Acknowledging the success made by the country in the area of Foreign Relations with its partners, under the stewardship of former Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister assured the Diplomatic Community that he would strive to build on the success of his predecessor. Minister Karunanayake further affirmed that he would seek to translate the prevailing positive climate into securing economic benefits for the country by focussing more on commercial diplomacy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Vasantha Senanayake also addressed the Diplomatic Community and expressed his desire to work with them very closely.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo
1st June 2017

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Eran Wickremaratne, Dr. Harsha de SIlva among eight Deputy and State Ministers appointed.

Posted on 31 May 2017 by admin

 

President Maithripala Sirisena appointed eight new deputy and State ministers who took oaths on May 31, 2017. 

Following the recent  cabinet reshuffle,  8 new deputy ministers  and State ministers took oaths today before the president. 

State Ministers
1.Eran Wickremeratne :  State minister –finance 
2.Palitha Range Bandara :State minister – irrigation 
3.Vasantha Parakrama  Senanayake :State minister –foreign affairs
4.Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena : State minister             – Enterprise development 


Deputy Ministers 
1.Dr. Harsha De Silva : Dep.minister – National policy and economic affairs 
2.Ranjan Ramanayake : Dep. Minister –Social empowerment , welfare and Hill country rights 
3.Karunaratne Paranavitharne : Dep. Minister -Skills development and vocational training 
4.Lasantha Alagiyawanna – Dep. Minister Finance & Media

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SRI LANKA EMBASSY CONDUCTS “A DAY OF SRI LANKAN CULTURE” IN WASHINGTON DC

Posted on 12 May 2017 by admin

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A Day of Sri Lankan Culture and Tradition in DC 

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Despite spring showers, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC was a hive of activity on Saturday as thousands of visitors thronged to the embassy premises for a celebration of Sri Lankan culture. The Embassy opened its doors to the public as part of the annual Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour, an event organized by Cultural Tourism D.C., which provides embassies in Washington D.C. the opportunity to offer a peak into their cultures and cuisine.

Throughout the day visitors to the Sri Lanka Embassy were treated to an array of Sri Lankan food and beverages, including Ceylon tea, while enjoying live traditional music, dances and folk games. As in past years, the ‘sari corner’ generated much excitement among the visitors, as they tried on the country’s colourful traditional attire and posed for photographs. The visitors were also eager to have their names written in the age-old Sinhalese and Tamil scripts, as a unique souvenir of their visit. Many were also eager to learn what made Sri Lanka such a globally popular tourist destination.

Around the World Embassy Tour is Washington D.C.’s citywide international cultural awareness program that provides its residents and visitors an opportunity to explore the international culture that is a crucial part of the city’s character.  

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Washington D.C.

 

May 6, 2017

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News Release from Sri Lanka Embassy in the USA

Posted on 06 February 2017 by admin

Sri Lanka reiterates commitment to Open Government Principles.

At a meeting with Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam on February 1, Chief Executive Officer of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Sanjay Pradhan stated, that the election of the Sri Lankan government two years ago on the plank of good governance gives Sri Lanka the opportunity to play an important role in promoting open government principles.

The Ambassador recalled that Sri Lanka was invited to join the OGP in 2015, in recognition of the measures taken by the government to strengthen good governance, combat corruption and strengthen democracy in the country since coming into office in January 2015. In October 2015, Sri Lanka participated in the OGP Summit held in Mexico City and became a participating country by endorsing the OGP Declaration committing “to foster a global culture of open government that empowers and delivers for citizens and advances the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government.”

In keeping with its OGP commitments, Sri Lanka has already submitted the National Action Plan of Sri Lanka for the OGP to the Washington based OGP Secretariat. At the meeting, Ambassador Kariyawasam handed over a letter from Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, formally conveying the National Action Plan and reiterating Sri Lanka’s commitment to implement Open Government principles.

Launched in 2011, OGP provides an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. With this aim, OGP aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness cutting edge technologies to strengthen governance. From its initial eight countries, OGP has now grown to 75 participating countries.

The OGP National Action Plan was developed through a consultative process in partnership with relevant ministries, and civil society partners in all provinces of the country. The National Action Plan was drafted by a Joint Working Committee comprising government officials and civil society partners and will be implemented over a period of two years. The Cabinet appointed a National Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of the President, with the participation of the Prime Minister, relevant Cabinet members and members of the Joint Working Committee which will oversee and provide guidance in implementation.

Representing Sri Lanka in the OGP Summit in December 2016 in Paris, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera observed the importance of OGP values to build trust in government and highlighted the reforms being undertaken by the Sri Lankan government to uphold the vision of transparent, inclusive and participatory governance.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington D.C.

February 3, 2017

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Sri Lanka Parliament and U.S. House Democracy Partnership launch Collaboration Agreement

Posted on 15 September 2016 by admin

The Sri Lanka Parliament and the House Democracy Partnership of the U.S. House of Representatives launched a Collaboration Agreement to strengthen partnership between the two legislatures today, 14 September, in Washington D.C.
 
The Agreement was signed by the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Representative Peter J. Roskam, Chairman of the House Democracy Partnership on behalf of the Sri Lanka Parliament and the House Democracy Partnership respectively.
 
The collaboration between the two legislatures is based on the principles of facilitating the exchange of information on the legislative systems of each country, sharing knowledge, and offering consultations on effective legislative management; and cooperating and assisting each other through training programs for the members and staff of the legislatures.
 
The signing of the Agreement was preceded by a roundtable conversation among the members of the House Democracy Partnership and the visiting parliamentary delegation of Sri Lanka led by the Speaker. Speaker Jayasuriya was joined by Ajith P. Perera, Deputy Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, Karunaratne Paranavithane, Deputy Minister of Parliament Reform and Mass Media, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Dhammika Dasanayake, Secretary General of Parliament and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Prasad Kariyawasam.
  
HDP Chairman Peter Roskam and Ranking Member Congressman David Price, both reflected on the strong bilateral ties that Sri Lanka and the United States have traditionally shared and the potential to further deepen relations through collaboration under the HDP.
 
They were joined by Congresswomen Diane Black and Dina Titus, who signaled interest, particularly, in working with women parliamentarians.
 
Speaker Jayasuriya observed that the political transformation in Sri Lanka since the Presidential and Parliamentary elections last year and the formation of the National Unity Government have ushered in a new era for the Sri Lankan parliamentary system. He explained in detail democratic reforms undertaken by the Parliament during last 12 months.  The Parliament, sitting as a Constitutional Assembly, is in the process of drafting a new Constitution, which is expected to be finalized next year. He thanked the HDP membership for the initiative to collaborate with Sri Lanka under the partnership.
 
A bipartisan, twenty-member commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, the House Democracy Partnership works with partner countries to develop accountable, effective and independent legislatures. Partner states are eligible to participate in training seminars for staff, peer-to-peer exchange programs with the U.S. House of Representatives and receive capacity building assistance in critical areas such as constituent relations, legislative oversight, committee operations, research and library services. The converging power of the forum in bringing together American legislators and their peers from around the world, makes the initiative an invaluable tool in the process of strengthening democratic institutions worldwide.
 
 
 
Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

14 September 2016

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