Sri Lanka to further consolidate longstanding relations with Australia

FMs (1)Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera today reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to further consolidate the longstanding and enduring relations with Australia for mutual benefit, when he met Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Sydney.

Minister Samaraweera was in Australia from 4-6 April on an official visit as a guest of the Australian government. This is the first visit to Australia by a Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister since the new Government was appointed following parliamentary elections in 2015.

In discussions covering the full areas of political and economic relations, Minister Samaraweera emphasized the Sri Lankan Government’s focus on restoring democracy, fostering reconciliation and bringing about economic development to ensure that peace dividends are realised by all Sri Lankans.

Minister Samaraweera was also associated with the launch of the Asian Sports Partnerships Programme by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, which also announced a grant for further development of netball in Sri Lanka.  Minister Julie Bishop highlighted the important role that sports can play in making societies more inclusive. Speaking at the launch, Minister Samaraweera thanked Australia for the grant assistance to Netball-Sri Lanka that would enhance the social empowerment of Sri Lankan women playing the sport, particularly in rural areas, and promote healthy lifestyles. The Minister reminded that Australia’s support in developing Sri Lankan sports is not new, and recalled that Australia was the first country to invite the Sri Lankan national team to undertake an overseas tour after the country became a Test Playing Nation in 1981.  

Minister Samaraweera said that Australia has been a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka and observed that the two countries will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations in 2017.  However, in the last several years, the bedrock of our bilateral relationship was based on our cooperation in the area of human smuggling.  He said that the number of illegal migrants going to Australia has greatly decreased since the new government came to power, but that Sri Lanka will continue to support Australia’s fight against people smuggling criminal syndicates who prey on innocent economic migrants of Sri Lanka.

He also pointed out that now Sri Lanka is on the path to peace and prosperity through democratization, reconciliation and development, and our bilateral relations must be further widened especially in the area of economic and trade relations. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed delight at the level of the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka and referred to the great friendship between the peoples of the two countries.  She also thanked Sri Lanka for the cooperation extended in countering people smuggling. 

During his visit to Australia the Foreign Minister also met the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, and discussed other bilateral issues. The Minister was also hosted by the Australian Institute of International Affairs in Victoria and the Asia Society in Sydney to a lunch co-hosted by Navitas where Minister Samaraweera spoke about the contours of a new Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Somasundaram Skandakumar, Consuls General in Melbourne and Sydney, Prasanna Gamage and Lal Wickrematunga, and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were associated with the Foreign Minister during the visit. (Colombo Gazette)

3 COMMENTS

  1. How much has been spent on Samaraweera’s constant overseas travels so far ? Near to billions rather than millions possibly, since his appointment? People have a right to know.

  2. Australia managed to delete my citizenship and prevented me from getting a human rights lawyer, due to my writings about the struggles of aboriginal people. I am going to push my case in Colombo. I am going to ask the US Embassy and the UK high commission to make a way for me to fight my case in Australia. Otherwise I will give flyers outside of the Australian High Commission, the US Embassy and British High commission in Colombo to expose their double standards.

    Let’s see how the preachers of democracy and human rights are going to do. And also let’s see how Minister Samaraweera is going to handle this particular situation in the near future. Most people said that Minister Samaraweera will silent me and help the Western countries to occupy the moral high ground and take Sri Lanka to international war crimes probe.

  3. Foreign Minister is ready for next innings to lead the country, but he doesn’t have an ability to write a small speech. Can anyone please publish his credentials for the foreign minister? He has nothing other than being a member of the UNP to hold this high profile position. He is wasting poor Lankans money on travelling around the world and paying others to write his speeches.

    He thinks that Australia has the genuine democracy. He must read few paragraphs from my website(www.indileaks.yolasite.com) to educate himself. Most people believe that Sri Lankan foreign minister will be fooled by the West as Arabs and Tamils. Arabs and Tamils don’t have much to show, he will join them.

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