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GL meets with the Commonwealth’s Foreign Ministers

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris met with the Foreign Ministers and Heads of delegations of Commonwealth Member States in a series of bilateral meetings held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022 (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda from June 24–25, 2022. They discussed a number of political and economic issues of importance, including resolving Sri Lanka’s current economic crisis and fostering cooperation through multilateral fora like the United Nations.

Foreign Minister Peiris met with Dominica’s Kenneth Melchoir Darroux, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, and Diaspora Relations, to discuss recent advancements in the industry, which is vital to both countries economies. The two Ministers discussed how to make the tourism sector more resilient to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and other ongoing global issues.

Sylvestre Radegonde, the Republic of Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, and Minister Peiris met to examine the status of a number of attractive projects, including expanding ocean-related collaboration and promoting medical tourism. According to Minister Peiris, Sri Lanka is concentrating on Seychelles in order to improve bilateral relations and commerce with Africa. In response to a request from Seychelles, Minister Radegonde commended Sri Lanka for donating two patrol boats for marine security.

The Bangladeshi side informed Minister Peiris of the steps being taken by Bangladesh to help Sri Lanka during the current economic crisis, including the provision of food, medical assistance, and the extension of a credit line, during a bilateral meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh A.K. Abdul Momen. Minister Momen’s aid at this crucial time was acknowledged by Minister Peiris. The two Ministers also talked about ways to boost their bilateral trade. The Fifth Summit of Heads of State/Government of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) will be held in March 2022 in Sri Lanka, Minister Momen underlined.

Raychelle Omamo, the Republic of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was briefed by Minister Peiris on the various measures taken by Sri Lanka to address issues related to reconciliation and was informed that Sri Lanka was eager to learn from African nations about their reconciliation experiences. Cabinet Secretary Omano discussed the experiences surrounding Kenya’s efforts at reconciliation and stated that each nation must create a model that encourages healing. Cabinet Secretary Omano encouraged Sri Lanka to consider joint ventures with Kenyan businesses in other industries after noting that several Sri Lankan businesses have invested in Kenya’s garment industry.

Minister Peiris supported stronger cooperation between the two nations in ocean affairs problems, especially in regional and international fora, during a bilateral discussion with Minister Ganoo of the Republic of Mauritius for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade. The two Ministers also spoke about collaboration in the tourism sector, the impact of rising food costs on the global market, and the impact of climate change on island nations.

During their private discussion, Minister Peiris and Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides discussed job prospects and consular support for Sri Lankan expatriates in Cyprus. Minister Peiris noted that Sri Lanka was eager to enhance the number of international employment prospects while praising Cyprus for its employment chances. The actions the Cyprus government was taking to improve welfare provisions for Sri Lankan workers were described to Minister Peiris by Minister Kasoulides. Minister Kasoulides discussed Cyprus’ experiences working with the IMF to address economic issues, noting that the country’s economy turned around after urgently adopting crucial reforms.

During a bilateral discussion between Minister Peiris and Malaysia’s Saifuddin Abdullah, several topics pertaining to fostering multifaceted bilateral relations were covered. According to Minister Abdullah, Malaysians of Sri Lankan descent have greatly aided the country’s development. Minister Abdullah proposed that Sri Lanka look into the job market for IT employees in Malaysia, noting that the Malaysian government was concentrated on creating a digital economy. Additionally, the Ministers talked about tight collaboration between the two nations on matters relating to the ocean in international fora.

Minister Peiris met with Vincent Biruta, the Rwandan minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, to round off his trip to that country. The CHOGM summit was successfully hosted by the Rwandan government, and Minister Peiris commended Minister Biruta on the achievement, noting that the meeting had reinforced the Commonwealth at a crucial juncture. Minister Peiris urged improved ties between the two nations, noting that Rwanda has recently achieved notable strides, notably in the areas of the economy and reconciliation.

Minister Biruta congratulated Minister Peiris and noted that African nations are growing more confident in their ability to pave their own roads to political and economic stability. Minister Biruta also stated his intention to look at ways to improve political and commercial ties with Sri Lanka.

Previously, Minister Peiris had private talks on the fringes of CHOGM with New Zealand’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Local Government Nanaia Mahuta and India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.

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