Statement by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka International Conference

 “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” 

Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, 15-16 July 2021

Your Excellency Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzebkistan,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to participate in this high-level forum dedicated to discussing the very relevant topic of connectivity between two important and dynamic regions in the world today: Central and South Asia.  I would like to commend His Excellency Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, for organising this timely forum bringing together the views of diverse countries on one platform in spite of the challenges posed globally by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is also an opportune moment to discuss connectivity, when Uzbekistan and the other Central Asian countries mark their third decade as independent nations this year.

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Joint Media Release – Sri Lanka launches the Submarine Cable Protection and Resilience Framework

Joint Media Release

(The Foreign Ministry and the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka launches the Submarine Cable Protection and Resilience Framework

On 15 July 2021, at a stakeholder meeting chaired by Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara launched the Submarine Cable Protection and Resilience Framework.

Sri Lanka is the first country in Asia to come up with such a Framework and it would have not been possible, if not for generous support of the Government of Japan through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Global Maritime Crimes Programme (GMCP).

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Updated information on removal of suspension of inbound passenger arrivals to Sri Lanka and home quarantine for the Fully Vaccinated

The temporary suspension of inbound passenger arrivals to Sri Lanka which was in effect from 11.59 pm on 21 May 2021 to 11.59 pm on 31 May 2021 was removed with effect from 1 June 2021.

Approval to enter Sri Lanka

The following categories of persons will be permitted to enter Sri Lanka without prior approval of the Foreign Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority:

  1. Sri Lankans (including Sri Lankan seafarers arriving by air)
    2. Dual Citizens who travel on Sri Lankan Passports
    3. Foreign spouses of Sri Lankans
    4. Unmarried children of Sri Lankans, who hold foreign nationality

Ex-Sri Lankans holding foreign passports (who do not hold dual citizenship) as well as dual citizens travelling on foreign pasports travelling to Sri Lanka for family visits/family emergencies etc and valid residence visa holders should continue to obtain prior approval of the Foreign Ministry/Civil Aviation Authority. Such persons should obtain Foreign Ministry/Civil Aviation Authority approval by sending a request to the Foreign Ministry in Colombo to the email address giving the following details:

  1. Name of the passenger
    2. Nationality and the passport number
    3. The country of departure
    4. Intended date of entry into Sri Lanka and the flight number, if available
    5. Purpose of the visit
Obtaining visas for Sri Lanka

Foreign passport holders should have prior visas to enter Sri Lanka as On-Arrival visas are not issued at present. As visas for Sri Lanka are issued only by the Department of Immigration and Emigration at present, all passengers  who need a visa for Sri Lanka should arrange a representative in Sri Lanka to apply for a visa/landing endorsement at the Visa Division of the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka at Battaramulla with the relevant documents (copy of the passport of the traveller and the approval received by email from the Foreign Ministry for traveling to Sri Lanka) to obtain a by paying the relevant visa fee.

Ex-Sri Lankans and foreign nationals visiting Sri Lanka for tourism

Ex-Sri Lankans holding foreign passports and foreign nationals who wish to travel to Sri Lanka for the purpose of tourism should follow the Tourist Travel Bio Bubble procedure of the Sri Lanka Toursim Promotion Bureau. The procedure, including how to obtain the approval for travelling and visa procedure is available on the website at the link

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Sri Lanka informs EU of action to review PTA and on progress in reconciliation

The Government of Sri Lanka has apprised the European Union (EU) of progress in specific areas of reconciliation, as part of its regular engagement and dialogue with the organization.  Accordingly, the Foreign Ministry on 25 June, informed the EU of action underway to revisit provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, No 48 of 1979, with the study of existing legislation, past practice, and international best practices.

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The largest Poson pandal in Europe displayed at the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre, Kingsbury

High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena and the members of the staff at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London participated at the Poson celebrations organised by the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre in Kingsbury under the aegis of the Chief Incumbent Aggamahapandita Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi, MBE on 24 June 2021.

The highlight of the celebrations was the display of a colourful pandal depicting the life story of Bhikkhuni Patachara which was inaugurated by High Commissioner Sirisena. The pandal which is 65 feet tall is the largest Poson pandal ever displayed in Europe. It was displayed at the forecourt of the temple premises for a period of one week.

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Policies from Sri Lanka receive Future Policy Award 2021 on protection from hazardous chemicals

Sri Lanka’s Control of Pesticides Act No. 33 of 1980 and the National Policy and Action Plan on Prevention of Suicide of 1997 are among the five inspiring and impactful laws and policies that won the Future Policy Award 2021.

The Award, often referred to as the ‘Oscar on Best Polices’ is celebrating the most effective policy solutions that minimise the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals on human health and the environment. The above two policies from Sri Lanka have contributed to one of the greatest decreases in suicide rates ever achieved in the world. They have saved about 93,000 lives over 20 years at a direct government cost of less than USD 50 per life.

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Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena attends the Asia-Pacific High Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation

Addressing the Asia-Pacific High Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation virtually on 23 June, 2021, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunwardena stressed the importance of enhanced cooperation among states and other partners in addressing the COVID-19 challenges, including by recognizing the vaccines as global public health good. He also highlighted Sri Lanka’s policy focus and thrust on sustainable development with renewable energy as a national priority.

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High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena meets the Executive Committee of the Sri Lankan Medical & Dental Association in the UK

High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena together with senior diplomatic officers met the members of the Executive Committee of the Sri Lankan Medical & Dental Association in the UK (SLMDA-UK) at the High Commission of Sri Lanka on 19 June 2021.

At the meeting, the members of the Executive Committee informed of the origins of the Association in 1982 and that it is a voluntary Association for Sri Lankan and Sri Lankan origin Medical & Dental professionals in the UK.  They also briefed the High Commissioner of the activities and charitable work undertaken by the Association in the recent past.

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