February 22, 2024
February 21, 2024
The 7th Indian Ocean Conference on the theme “Towards a stable and sustainable Indian Ocean” was held in Perth, Australia from 9-10 February 2024.
President, Ranil Wickremesinghe was a special invitee to deliver the keynote speech at the inauguration.
The President’s keynote speech highlighted the Geopolitical complexities, challenges and strategies for stability and cooperation. He also spoke of enhancing the need for connectivity, the climate change crisis and called for collaborative action to create an overarching regional architecture for the Indian Ocean region.
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry was also invited to speak at the plenary session on the “Our Blue Future”. The Foreign Minister’s presentation touched on the blue-green economic opportunities and the need to work towards collective action on shared ocean resources.
During the conference, the Foreign Minister of Australia Penny Wong called on the President and, both leaders expressed their commitment to work towards further enhancing the bilateral links between Sri Lanka and Australia. They shared insights on the evolving dynamics on the Indian Ocean region.
The meeting between the Indian External Affairs Minister and the President provided an opportunity for both sides to review the ongoing projects between the two countries and the way forward.
An important discussion was held when the Western Australia Premier, Roger Cook called on the President. They focussed on the renewable energy sector, agriculture development, aviation connectivity and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
The President’s presence in Perth also provided an opportunity for the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Western Australia to organize a meeting for the President to engage with the Sri Lanka diaspora in Western Australia.
The President conducted media interviews with WION Television, the Hindu and India Foundation.
The President made a brief inspection visit to the Honorary Consulate and was welcomed by the Honorary Consul in Western Australia, Dr. Rosh Jalagge and Staff.
The delegation to IOC included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, Senior Advisor to the President of National Security and Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Australia, Chitranganee Wagiswara, Members of Parliament Chinthaka Mayadunne and Ishak Rahuman, International Affairs Directors Dinouk Colombage and Rishan de Silva, Private Secretary, Sandra Perera and from the Foreign Ministry Chief of Protocol, Majintha Jayasinghe, Rifa Wadood, Director, Indian Ocean and from the High Commission Deputy High Commissioner, Chamari Rodrigo and Minister Counsellor Comde S.P. Kathriarachchi.
Sri Lanka High Commission
February 20, 2024
A radio programme on “Foreign Soil” interview with the High Commissioner will be on air on Wednesday, 21st February 2024 at 9.45.a.m. on ABC Radio Canberra at 666.0.
Sri Lanka High Commission, Canberra
February 14, 2024
Sri Lanka High Commission cordially invite you to attend the Sri Lanka Festival -2024 to be held on Saturday the 2nd March 2024 at the Sri Lanka High Commission Premises, 61, Read More »
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Canberra celebrates the 76th Anniversary of Independence Day of Sri Lanka
February 6, 2024
The 76th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s National Independence was celebrated by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra on 04th February 2024 at the High Commission premises with the participation of the Sri Lankan community in Canberra.
The programme commenced with hoisting the national flag by Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka High Commissioner followed by singing the national anthem. A two minute silence was observed in honour of all the national heroes and members of the armed forces who had sacrificed their lives to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Motherland.
Multi-faith religious observances were conducted by the clergy of all four religions offering their blessings upon Sri Lanka and its people. Chief Incumbent of the Canberra Buddhist Vihara, Venerable Aparelle Soratha Thero conducted the Buddhist religious observances followed by Reverend Jai Shanker of Canberra Hindu Temple conducted the Hindu blessings. Mr. Al-haj Mohomed Ashroff led the Islamic religious observances and Christian prayers were delivered by Pastor Reverend Manoel Niles.
The National Day messages of the Sri Lanka President, Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were read by the High Commissioner, Deputy High Commissioner and the Minister of the High Commission respectively.
Addressing the gathering, the High Commissioner stated that the political freedom alone is not sufficient for the country’s development. For true freedom the economy of Sri Lanka has to be strong. Hence, Sri Lanka’s priority today is to focus on the reform process to have economic growth and thereby work towards a strong economy and bring about prosperity to our country and to the people. Further she highlighted needs of three main points of the President’s message, the need to stabilise the economy of our country, the rebuilding programme in place towards economic stability and the need to learn from past mistakes and the invitation to all Sri Lankans at home and abroad to collectively contribute to rebuild the nation.
The ceremony concluded with serving of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and invitees were enjoyed the flavours of a warm cup of Ceylon tea.
Sri Lanka High Commission
06th February 2024
February 5, 2024
January 30, 2024
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry concluded his official visit to the United Kingdom on the invitation of the prestigious Cambridge Union and Wilberforce Society of the University of Cambridge. Foreign Minister Sabry addressed the Cambridge Union, the oldest debating society in the world on 23 January and engaged with the academic community in a discussion that touched upon Sri Lanka’s road to economic recovery. Notably, he is the only Sri Lankan to have addressed the Cambridge Union in recent history.
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry addressed the Wilberforce Society and the Lucy Cavendish Finance Society on 24 January, focusing on the accessibility of development finance across South Asia, drawing from his experiences with the IMF debt restructuring process in Sri Lanka. The Foreign Minister delved into the significant role international organisations play in shaping domestic policy-making. The address was followed by a formal dinner hosted by The Wilberforce in honour of Foreign Minister Ali Sabry at Christ’s College. Foreign Minister Sabry also engaged in discussions with the students and academia of the Sri Lanka Society of the University of Cambridge prior to his Wilberforce Society speech.
During the bilateral leg of the visit on 25 and 26 January 2024, Foreign Minister Sabry met with Minister of State (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth) Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, where the two sides reviewed the multifaceted Sri Lanka-UK relationship and cooperation at multilateral. Minister Sabry apprised the UK side of the progress in the debt restructuring process and thanked UK for its support and cooperation extended towards Sri Lanka as a member of the Paris Club in accelerating the process. Both dignitaries also exchanged views on freedom of navigation and maritime issues.
In addition, Minister Sabry had interactive sessions with the UK Parliamentarians including, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs The Rt Hon David Lammy, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Council of Sri Lankan Muslim Organisations UK (COSMOS) Bob Blackman, Chair APPG Foreign Affairs Dr Lisa Cameron and Conservative MP for North Somerset and former Secretary of State for Defence the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP at the Houses of Parliament. During the meetings, Minister Sabry briefed the Parliamentarians on Sri Lanka’s economic progress and current developments in the reconciliation process with specific references to the Anti-Terrorism Bill and establishment of the Interim Secretariat for Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism (ISTRM) and shared insights and international politics. He also chaired a roundtable on Sri Lanka with Chair of the APPG Dr Mathew Offord, on Sri Lanka which was attended by cross party Parliamentarians. The Parliamentarians were appreciative of the opportunity to receive Foreign Minister’s briefing on Sri Lanka’s economic recovery process and reconciliation efforts.
The visit concluded with roundtable discussions the Foreign Minister had with the Sri Lankan Tour Operators organised by the Sri Lankan Airlines and a Business Roundtable organised by the Sri Lanka-UK Chamber of Commerce on enhancing Sri Lanka-UK economic relationship where Minister engaged in an insightful discussion with the representatives of the tourism industry and the business community.
High Commissioner Rohitha Bogollagama and senior officials of the High Commission were associated with the Foreign Minister at the University of Cambridge events and bilateral meetings.
Sri Lanka High Commission
29 January 2024
Statement delivered by HE Ranil Wickremesinghe President of Sri Lanka at the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kampala, Uganda
January 20, 2024
“Let me begin by congratulating you President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for taking over the helm of the Non Aligned Movement at this 19th Summit. Your leadership is even more timely as Uganda assumes this role at a critical moment of collective awareness among countries of the global South. This is the first NAM Summit following the onset of the pandemic, the debt crisis, climate catastrophe, new global competition, and the ensuing multiple implications for the world, in particular, for the Global South.
As we meet today, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the Gaza Strip and beyond. For over 3 months immense suffering and losses have been endured by the Palestinian civilian population, endangering regional security and stability. Until now, the NAM was largely silent. How can we remain silent when the Gaza is destroyed? People denied humanitarian aid and a vast majority of the dead are innocent civilians. Silence implies consent. It is encouraging that this 19th Summit has given the highest priority to this crisis in Gaza and the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine to self- determination and the realisation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine. We must congratulate South Africa for the bold stand it has taken in regard to Gaza. The international community has already called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and a release of hostages.
There cannot be a two state solution based on one state – Israel. No resolution is possible without a state of Palestine. Therefore, in line with multiple UN Resolutions, and the Declaration of this Summit, the international community must recognise the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem as territories coming within the State of Palestine and in addition there should be no change in the ethnic composition of Gaza. Sri Lanka also proposes that the State of Palestine be established within 5 years and no more.
We are now witnessing the end of the post cold war order and the coming into being of the evolving multipolar world. On the geopolitical front, we are witnessing a resurgence of latent and open conflicts involving former and aspiring major powers. In Europe the transatlantic military alliance has been strengthened, past arms control agreements have collapsed, military expenditure has reached historically unprecedented levels and nuclear weapons are once again the subject of apparently serious policy discussion. Outer space and the oceans have become potential theatres of conflict and geo-strategic competition including in our vicinity in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Free trade and economic integration is being reversed by policy driven rise of trade protectionism due to strategic competition among major powers. Furthermore, this being extended further with the concepts of de-coupling and de-risking. A unilateral declaration of a new trade order and the setting aside of multilateralism by the West of the WTO. The weaponising of the Dollar. New challenges of economic and the debt crisis, climate justice, food and energy security. Digital and technological divides and advanced WMD arsenals have aggravated existing inequalities between the developing states of the NAM and the developed world.
The theme of this Summit ‘Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence” reflects the need to address the inequities between our two worlds. Furthermore, experience shows us that, to succeed we need a strong and a united NAM that contributes to a better world for all. To do so, we have to reinvent ourselves.
Our membership today is no longer a grouping of weak states. We must recognise that as a result of the rapid progress and economic advancement of some of Asian, African and Latin American states. A majority of the 10 leading economies of 2050 will belong to this movement. We see among us, rising aspirants for leadership status in global affairs. They must be prepared to give leadership. Furthermore, there is a vital role we must play as geostrategic rivalries in political, economic, technological and military terms becomes more pronounced among former and new contenders for Major Power status.
Therefore, the NAM must reinvent itself under your Chairmanship. Assume a new role in a multipolar world – to transform itself as the largest bloc representing the Global South. We must also recast our objectives. While upholding the Bandung Principles in the evolving multipolar world we need to,
- oppose the spread of big power rivalry including the coercion of uncommitted states,
- build a multipolar world which incorporates the political, economic, social and climate change mitigation aspirations of the Global South.
Let us transform ourselves from this loose movement to become a dynamic bloc of the Global South and its friends. Let us establish an effective permanent operational structure which is equipped to address the contemporary challenges facing the Global South. An organisation which is capable of shaping the new order.
Our future lies in our hands.
We can make it or break it. Let us make it work.
Let me conclude by thanking you Mr President and the Government of Uganda for the excellent arrangements for hosting this important 19th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement.”
Meeting of the NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine 17 January 2023 – Kampala, Uganda – Statement by Hon. Ali Sabry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
January 18, 2024
Allow me at the outset to thank Hon. Gen Odongo Jeje Abubakhar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda and the Chair of the NAM Ministerial Meeting on Palestine for inviting me to this meeting.
Sri Lanka’s long held principled position on this matter has been clear. We recognize the legitimate and inalienable right of the people of Palestine to statehood. Sri Lanka remains committed to supporting a just and comprehensive negotiated political settlement to the Palestine issue in line with the relevant UN resolutions, leading to two States living side by side based on the 1967 borders. It is the obligation of the international community to walk the talk and ensure those resolutions are implemented on the ground and restore the dignity and freedom of the Palestinian people.
Sri Lanka is the Chair of the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices and continues to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and affirms the rights of the Palestinian people to live in peace and dignity.
Excellencies, last Sunday reached a grim milestone of hundred days of massive escalation of violence in the Gaza strip. We remain deeply concerned on the tragedy that is continuing to unfold causing an unprecedented level of civilian casualties. Over a million of Palestinians have been displaced and the psychological trauma endured particularly by the children is just heart breaking. Lack of medical supplies, food, water and fuel has further worsened the dire humanitarian situation.
Sri Lanka welcomes the high priority given by the 19th Summit of NAM to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the issue of Palestine. We also welcome the Political Declaration of the Meeting of the NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine.
We reiterate our call for unhindered facilitation of humanitarian aid entry into Gaza at the scale that is required to prevent the risk of famine, disease and malnutrition.
The loss of over 152 UN staff aid workers which is reported to be highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in the history of the United Nations is an alarming testament to the severity of the ongoing violence in Gaza. We take this opportunity to commend the dedication and courage of the healthcare and humanitarian aid workers in Gaza including the significant work of the UNRWA under extremely challenging circumstances, call for their urgent protection and renewed support for their activities.A humanitarian ceasefire is the only solution to halt the mounting civilian death toll. Hostages should be released and unfettered access to life saving essentials to the people in Gaza should be assured.
Excellencies, We are concerned about the peace and security of the Middle East due to the ongoing conflict as well its potential to spread beyond the Region. It is also a test of solidarity for NAM and we welcome the continuous support of NAM for the people of Palestine. We are pleased that all the amendments proposed by Palestine to the outcome document of this Summit were agreed upon with overwhelming support.
Double standards in the response to the crisis in Gaza has been evident. We call upon the international community to form a united front and a collective voice towards alleviating the humanitarian disaster in Gaza. Safety, dignity, and rights of both Israelis and Palestinians should be prioritized in the work towards advancing stable and sustainable peace.
We recognize legitimate security concerns of both Israeli and Palestinian peoples and acknowledge the deep pain, loss, and suffering that both sides have experienced over the long years of the continuing conflict. The cycle of violence must be broken. It is of critical importance that both sides engage in sincere dialogue in pursuit of a two-state solution and we urge for greater diplomatic efforts towards this end.
We must acknowledge that until everyone is safe, no one is safe. Until the Palestinians are safe, the middle east is not safe. Until the middle east is safe, the world is not safe.
Let me conclude by echoing the words of the UN Secretary-General, “The people of Gaza are looking into the abyss. The international community must do everything possible to end their ordeal.”
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry addresses the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kampala
January 18, 2024
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry stated that it is essential to ensure that the Non Aligned Movement continues to play a significant role in multilateralism, particularly on issues of importance to the global South, when addressing the Ministerial Meeting of the 19 Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that is currently ongoing in Kampala, Uganda from 17 to 18 January 2024.
The Republic of Uganda assumed the Chairmanship of the 19th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the NAM which is being convened under the theme “Deepening cooperation for shared global affluence.”
Recalling that Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Movement and had hosted the 5th NAM Summit of Heads of State and Government in 1976, Minister Sabry reiterated that non-alignment is the cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy. He further stated that contemporary global crises have brought the fragilities of the world to the forefront and that this has magnified the relevance of the Movement, as never before.
He called on the NAM Member States to speak in one voice when the very principles on which the Movement is based are challenged and emphasized the importance of unity and solidarity among the Members. He reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s solidarity with the people of Palestine during the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and stated that Sri Lanka will continue to support them in their quest to realize their inalienable right to Statehood.
The Ministerial Meeting was preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting where the Sri Lanka delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane. The Senior Officials meeting, held from 15 to 16 January 2024 in Kampala, negotiated and finalized the Outcome Document of the Summit and the Kampala Declaration. Both of these documents will be presented to the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) when they meet from 19 to 20 January 2024.
President Ranil Wickeremesinghe is scheduled to address the Summit of the Heads of State and Government on 19th January 2024.
On the sidelines of these meetings, Foreign Minister Sabry held bilateral discussions with the Foreign Minister of Uganda, Odongo Jeje Abubakher, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Jalil Abbas Jilani and the Foreign Minister of Algeria, Ahmed Attaf. The Foreign Minister is also scheduled to address the Meeting of the NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine, today, 17th January 2024.
The NAM which currently consists of 120 Member States is based on the Bandung Principles and aims to advance the interests of developing countries.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
17 January 2024
Ministerial Meeting of the 19th Summit of Heads of State & Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Statement by Hon. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
17-18 January 2024, Kampala
H.E. Gen. Odongo Jeje Abubakhar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda,
H.E. Jeyhun Bayramov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
I wish to congratulate the Republic of Uganda on the assumption of the chairmanship of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and to extend the fullest cooperation and support of Sri Lanka during Uganda’s chairmanship. I also wish to thank Your Excellency for the excellent arrangements made for the Summit in the beautiful city of Kampala.
We appreciate the role played by the Republic of Azerbaijan as the chair of the NAM for the past four years, particularly, during a period of immense challenges.
Excellencies, as we know global challenges will always persist. However, we must ensure that strong leadership is provided to address these challenges and we must not shy away from taking the correct decisions – the correct decisions for the Global South. Today, the NAM comprises a near two-thirds of the Member States of the United Nations – and it is essential to ensure that the Movement continues to play a significant role in multilateralism, particularly on issues that are relevant to the South.
I am pleased to recall that Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Movement and hosted the 5th Summit of the Heads of State and Government in 1976. Non-alignment, Mr. Chair, forms a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and we are aware of the sensitivities of leading the Movement in a fragile international environment. It is our belief that the prevailing fractured global stage has magnified the relevance of this Movement, as never before.
In this context, the theme of this Summit “Deepening cooperation for shared global affluence” is relevant and the focus is timely. We see the Chair’s vision of a ‘stronger and united NAM that contributes to a better world for all’ as a clear pathway to realize it as enshrined in the theme.
The after effects of the COVID pandemic, exacerbated by the global financial and economic crisis, deteriorating international security, complex humanitarian crises and a weak multilateral framework have brought the fragilities of our world to the forefront – and the ever-expanding inequalities and the divide between the North and South. The status quo warrants our renewed commitment to the principles of the NAM.
It is also important that we speak in one voice when the very principles on which this Movement is based are challenged. Sri Lanka is appalled by the situation in Palestine and the dire humanitarian situation. We are pleased that all the amendments proposed by Palestine to the outcome document of this Summit were agreed upon with overwhelming support. Sri Lanka reaffirms our solidarity with the Palestinian people and the commitment to continue supporting them in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights. A lasting solution to the question of Palestine, based on internationally-endorsed parameters enshrined in the relevant UN resolutions, must remain a priority for our Movement.
NAM must emphasize the importance of unity and solidarity among its Member States and we in the Global South must work together to address global issues of relevance to us. The promotion of South-South Cooperation should be prioritized in order to enhance collaboration among developing countries, fostering partnerships in areas such as trade, investment, technology transfer and capacity building.
As a country that suffered at the hands of terrorism for over three decades, Sri Lanka reiterates its commitment to the NAM’s principled position to the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is the obligation of all Member States to prevent and suppress such acts and contribute to international peace and security. We must restore the vision of disarmament, which is crucial for a sustained international peace and security. In this context, I am also pleased to inform that, as a country advocating for disarmament, Sri Lanka acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), last year.
It is the developing world that is most affected and faced with challenges in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our hard won developmental goals have been reversed and we are now required to invest our limited resources even to combat the issues arising from what we are not even responsible for.
Contemporary global crises, exacerbated by growing geo-political tensions, have brought to the forefront many underlying issues. Of utmost importance is debt relief, digital divide and climate change. It is the countries in the South that are faced with increased debt burden and are compelled to allocate resources for debt servicing. The widening digital divide threatens to leave developing countries from achieving technological advances and climate financing and technology transfer still remains a challenge. In the context of climate change, I am pleased to inform that in this context, Sri Lanka launched a Climate Justice Forum and the Tropical Belt Initiative recently. We also envision establishing an International Climate Change university in Sri Lanka.
The magnitude of the challenges we face is immense – be it economic, political or environmental. NAM needs unity as never before, if we are to ‘deepen cooperation for shared affluence.’ We must review our role, in the current realities, and take steps expeditiously to improve the structure and methods of work required to enhance the group’s effectiveness. Solidarity and commitment to multilateral cooperation are key in facing the challenges confronting us today, and in the coming years. Our cooperation should be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, equality, and non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit. I am confident that our deliberations during the course of these 2 days will lead to a strong Declaration and an outcome document to be adopted by our Heads of State and Government at the Summit which will strengthen the collective vision of the Movement bolstered by the highest political commitment.