FM briefs Heads of Foreign Missions on government’s key developments and plans

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry convened a briefing on current developments in Sri Lanka for the Colombo-based diplomatic corps on Monday, 10 April 2023. Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya, Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka and Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane were associated with the briefing.

Opening the meeting, the Minister thanked the international community for the support extended to Sri Lanka towards economic recovery and briefed on progress made in this regard. He also requested countries to review their travel advisories to reflect the stability in the country which would further encourage tourist influx.

The Minister also highlighted initiatives taken by the government for reconciliation including the convening of the All-Party Conference by the President in December 2022 and January 2023 and the appointment of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation chaired by the President. He also briefed on the government’s position on the 13th Amendment and the proposed counter-terrorism legislation. He provided an update on ongoing efforts to set up a Truth and Reconciliation mechanism, and thanked the Government of South Africa for facilitating a working visit in March to study the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka briefed on developments related to the government’s structural reform process in the context of IMF, World Bank and ADB programmes, and highlighted the measures taken, inter alia, towards debt sustainability, fiscal oversight, social protection for the vulnerable segments, good governance and addressing corruption.

Foreign Secretary Wijewardane outlined Sri Lanka’s continued engagement with the UN mechanisms including Sri Lanka’s recent participation in the 4th Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the 6th Periodic Review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). She added that Sri Lanka also submitted its 9th Periodic Report to the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in April 2022 and has started the consultation process among relevant stakeholders.

The Foreign Secretary also highlighted the government’s initiatives to proactively engage with Sri Lankans overseas including through the recently established Office for Overseas Sri Lankans Affairs.

Following the briefing members of the diplomatic corps engaged in a discussion on several pertinent issues, including investment promotion, reconciliation, good governance, and anti-corruption. They also thanked Minister Sabry for providing regular briefings to the diplomatic corps on relevant developments in Sri Lanka.

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