21 October 2003 Honourable Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, visited India from 19-21 October 2003 at the invitation of the Government of India. He was accompanied by Tyronne Fernando, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Economic Reforms, Science and Technology and other senior officials. The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka held wide-ranging discussions with Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers of External Affairs, Commerce & Industry, Civil Aviation and Petroleum & Natural Gas called on Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. The discussions were substantive and held in a cordial atmosphere, reflective of the close relations between the two countries. The two Prime Ministers expressed their happiness that the Free Trade Agreement, which became operational in December 2001, had enabled bilateral trade to cross the US$ 1 billion mark in the financial year 2002-03. A decision to go beyond the Free Trade Agreement was taken during the last visit of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in June 2002. An India-Sri Lanka Joint Study Group was set up to make recommendations for the establishment of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The Co-Chairmen of the Joint Study Group presented their recommendations tothe two Prime Ministers on 20th October 2003. Expressing their satisfaction on the speed with which the Joint Study Group prepared its comprehensive report with its far-reaching recommendations, the Prime Ministers congratulated the members of the Group and directed that negotiations begin immediately, with the target of concluding the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement by the end of March 2004. This would enable the two countries to reap the early benefits of freer trade in goods and services and enhanced investment and economic cooperation. The two Prime Ministers noted the successful holding of the 5th session of the Joint Commission Meeting, co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers, in Colombo on 15th October 2003 and the signing of the Agreement to release the second tranche of US$ 30 million out of the US$ 100 million Line of Credit extended to Sri Lanka. They agreed that further Lines of Credit for infrastructure projects could be discussed. The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction that existing understandings on dealing sympathetically and humanely with fishermen who stray into each other's maritime zone were working well. It was noted that a number of Indian fishermen had been released by the Sri Lankan side and several Sri Lankan vessels detained at Nagapattinam had been released for repair and escorted back to Sri Lanka. It was agreed that while it was important that the fishermen should be released early, the boats may be held till the judicial processes in the two countries are completed. The Prime Ministers agreed on the need to undertake enhanced surveillance to minimize incursions, institutionalize assistance for salvage operations of released vessels, pay attention to ecological and conservation aspects and consider licensed fishing within a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries. The two Prime Ministers expressed their satisfaction at increased civil aviation links between India and Sri Lanka. They noted that Sri Lankan Airlines had increased the number of its weekly flights to Indian destinations from 29 to 44 since their last meeting. Without prejudice to already existing arrangements, India offered to Sri Lanka the facility of daily air services by its designated airlines between Colombo and the metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. In addition, unlimited access would be available for air services to and from 18 tourist destinations in India. It was agreed to do away with the existing requirement of Commercial Agreements between designated airlines of the two countries for asymmetrical operations. With a view to increasing tourist flow and connectivity, it was also decided to encourage private scheduled airlines of India, who operate only in the domestic sector at present, to extend their operations to airports in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister agreed to reciprocate in terms of the access that airlines from India could have to Sri Lankan airspace. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister proposed commencement of a ferry service linking Colombo with Kochi (Kerala). The Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the significant contribution made by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation towards fostering exchanges in cultural, educational, scientific and technological areas and announced a further contribution of Rs. 1 crore each to enable the Foundation to sustain its diverse activities. Taking note of the continuing acts of terrorism worldwide and in our region, the two Prime Ministers emphasized the need for concerted opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They agreed that there can be no justification for terrorism, be it political, religious or ideological. They recalled the obligations devolving on States, inter alia, under Security Council Resolution 1373 and the International Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism. The Kathmandu Declaration adopted at the 11th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu on 6 January 2002 on criminalization of financing for terrorist purposes and the need to prevent the abuse of financial systems of States was also recalled. They reaffirmed the need to finalize and adopt, at the earliest, the proposed Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism, which would send a strong signal that the international community was united and determined in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of terrorism. Furthermore, they also urged the early conclusion of the proposed Additional Protocol to the SAARC Convention on Suppression of Terrorism. The two Prime Ministers discussed the ongoing cooperation in training and the supply of equipment to the Sri Lankan defence forces and agreed that the two sides will commence discussions with a view to concluding a defence cooperation agreement at the earliest. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister apprised the Indian leadership of recent developments in the peace process and proposals made by his Government for the establishment of an Interim Administration. India expects that the response to the proposals made by the Sri Lankan Government in July 2003 will be reasonable and comprehensive. India supports the process of seeking a negotiated settlement acceptable to all sections of Sri Lankan society within the framework of a united Sri Lanka and consistent with democracy, pluralism and respect for individual rights. It believes that an enduring solution has to emerge purely through internal political processes. India will maintain an abiding interest in the security of Sri Lanka and remains committed to its sovereignty and territorial integrity. India would welcome a resolution of the current impasse in the peace process and an early resumption of negotiations. Any interim arrangement should be an integral part of the final settlement and should be in the framework of the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. New Delhi October 21, 2003
"The potential in the South Asia region for economic growth and, through it improving the lives of people is still vastly untapped. Development institutions such as the World Bank who are key partners in the process, can play a major role. The World Bank should share global knowledge on what works and what does not; What has succeeded and what has failed and why; and provide concessionary funds to spur development in key areas." Minister Milinda Moragoda, Minister for Economic Reform, Science & Technology, was speaking as the invited and the only keynote speaker at the Development Seminar on "Economic Prospects in South Asia" sponsored by the World Bank in Washington D.C. today. While recognizing the substantial contribution that the World Bank is making in South Asian countries, Minister Moragoda stressed that the World Bank needs to communicate better to the masses, as the institution's policies, though well placed, are often misunderstood. He appreciated that economic development takes time- and is a long term process- but for national leaders and the World Bank to succeed there is need to show early results as well. "It is good to promise honey in the future, but we also need bread today, "he said. Vice President for the World Bank's South Asia Region, emphasized his commitment to support the South Asia region more aggressively - and Sri Lanka in particular given the urgent need in a post conflict situation. Attainment of peace he said was key to attracting huge amounts of donor assistance that is in the pipeline. Praful Patel said that in his recent discussions with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, they had agreed on the priority that needs to be given to building capacity for speedier implementation; and to support upgrading and enhancing infrastructure and basic services to citizens. Mr. Patel said that Minister Moragoda's passionate advocacy for sustained assistance and quicker results was an aspect which was also echoed by leaders in other countries as well - "Minister Moragoda's appeal on behalf of Sri Lanka has been heard loud and clear." Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 15 October 2003

Foreign Minister Fernando underlines the wider benefits of the peace process to Sri Lanka's economy, the country and the world at large

Minister Tyronne Fernando, Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Los Angeles from September 30 - October 4, 2003 to participate in a series of events organized to promote US-Sri Lanka trade and investment. During the visit Minister Fernando met with US business executives, members of the Sri Lankan community residing in Los Angeles and members of the academic community. Address at the Investors Forum 'The Peace Process is good news not only for Sri Lanka's apparel industry but also for the entire economy, entire country, its people as well as the world at large' remarked Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando at the Investors Forum, 'The Peace Process- Good News for Sri Lanka's Apparel Industry.' The Minister made this observation to underline the wider benefits of the Peace Process. The Investors Forum was jointly organized by the Sri Lanka -America Business Council and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Office of the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Los Angeles. Pointing out that the "LTTE's temporary withdrawal from the peace talks did not mean resumption of war," the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister highlighted to the Business Council representatives, the dividends that have accrued during the past twenty months of the ceasefire such as the robust growth of the Sri Lankan Economy, the bullish sentiment at the Colombo Stock Exchange, the increased flow of investments and the marked revival in tourism. "People's support and involvement, sustained engagement as well as consistent support of the international community," he said, were crucial factors to carry the process forward. Minister Tyronne Fernando invited the Los Angeles Business Community to take advantage of the generous incentives offered to investors by Sri Lanka, its business friendly environment and the strategic location. He recalled that California was the fifth largest economy in the world. Two Sri Lankan business executives, Ajith Dias, Chairman of Brandix Garments Pvt. Ltd. and Anil Hirdaramani, Director of the Hirdaramani Group of Companies, made presentations at this event. Bruce S. Berton, Director, International Business Consulting, Stonefield Josephson Inc. gave insights to the participants on the structure and requirements of the apparel industry in the West Coast. Religious Observances held at the Consulate Office Hon. Tyronne Fernando attended the religious observances held at the Sri Lanka Consulate Office. The Chief Sanganayaka in the USA, the most Ven. Piyananda Walpola, and Rev. Fr. Damian Fernando addressed the gathering and blessed the Hon. Minister. The most Ven. Ahangama Dhammarama, Chief Incumbent, Pasadena Temple and the Ven. Ambalantota Kolitha from Sarathchandra Buddhist Center also graced this occasion. The Ven. Ambalantota Kolitha handed over a donation for flood relief to the visiting Minister. Book Launching Ceremony Following religious observances, the Minister attended a book launching ceremony. Dr. Ananda W.P. Guruge, (author and a former Sri Lanka Ambassador to the USA), the Dean of Academic Affairs, Hsi Lai University, presented two books titled "Free at last in Paradise" and its sequel "Serendipity of Andrew George" to Minister Fernando. Luncheon Meeting with the World Affairs Council The Minister addressed a luncheon meeting Chaired by the President of the World Affairs Council, Mr. J. Curtis Mack II. Minister Fernando expressing his views on the future of the United Nations and the Security Council said, "we need to look beyond Iraq and pursue collective efforts to restore the UN 's role as a premier force for peace and security, through consensus." Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 04 October 2003

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage re- affirms the US Government’s continuing support for Sri Lanka and its commitment to further expand and enhance the bilateral relationship

Minister Milinda Moragoda, Minister for Economic Reform, Science & Technology, visited Washington D.C. from September 29 - October 1, 2003 for a series of bilateral meetings. Minister Moragoda’s visit to Washington D.C. follows the call on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by Ms. Christina Rocca, Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs of the Department of State, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Sessions in New York. During his visit, Minister Moragoda met with senior officials of the US Administration, members of Congress and US business executives. US-Sri Lanka Bilateral Discussions Minister Moragoda met with the Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, Steven Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor and Ms. Christina Rocca, Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs of the Department of State. The Minister discussed with the Deputy Secretary of State, the current status of the peace process, improving prospects of the Sri Lankan economy and other bilateral issues. Mr. Armitage re-affirmed the US Government’s continuing support for Sri Lanka and its commitment to further expand and enhance the bilateral relationship. Meeting with the Deputy National Security Advisor, Steven Hadley, at the White House, Minister Moragoda discussed the Prime Minister’s initiative for UN reforms and bilateral issues. The Minister met with the new Deputy United States Trade Representative, Josette Shiner, and Assistant United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ashley Wills. The meeting was joined by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Zoellick. The Minister discussed the improving growth momentum of the Sri Lankan economy following the cease-fire agreement and the Government’s economic reform agenda. Ambassador Zoellick, whilst complimenting the efforts of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the Minister in undertaking major economic reforms, also re-stated the commitment of the USTR to supporting the reform program through deepening the bilateral trade and investment relationship. Inaugural Meeting to launch the US-Sri Lanka Working Group at the United States Chamber of Commerce The Minister also addressed the inaugural meeting to launch the US-Sri Lanka Working Group at the United States Chamber of Commerce which was attended by thirty leading US companies. The meeting was co-hosted by Thomas Donohue, President of the United States Chamber of Commerce and Devinda R. Subasinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States. The establishment of the US-Sri Lanka Working Group at the US Chamber of Commerce will promote increased business relationships with Sri Lanka and provide a strong impetus to deepening the trade relationship and the flow of US investments to the country. Meetings with Members of Congress Minister Moragoda met with Senator Michael Enzi (Republican–Wyoming), Representative Jerry Weller (Republican–Illinois) and Senator John McCain (Republican–Arizona). Senator Enzi, serves on the Committee on Foreign Relations and Senator McCain is Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Representative Weller serves on the House Ways and Means Committee responsible for trade matters, especially for bilateral free trade agreements and Co-chairs the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus. The Senators and the Congressman expressed their support for a US–Sri Lanka FTA and reiterated their commitment to strengthening the bilateral trade and business relationship. “Minister Moragoda’s visit to Washington following Ms. Rocca’s meeting with the Prime Minister in New York constitutes an emerging trend of regular Sri Lanka - US consultations on bilateral and global developments and issues,” said Ambassador Subasinghe. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 01 October 2003
Mr President Mr Secretary General Your Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen Please accept my congratulations Mr President on your unanimous and well deserved election as President of the 58th UN General Assembly. This is a difficult period for any person to preside over the UN General Assembly and I wish you every success. I wish also to thank HE Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic for his exemplary work as the outgoing President. Last year addressing the General Assembly I referred to the commencement of the peace process in Sri Lanka and promised to report on its progress. The progress of the peace process in Sri Lanka is because we stopped talking about talking to each other - we started doing the talking. We have been lucky because the international community did not simply talk about helping us - they did it. In moving from conflict to peace in Sri Lanka we initiated fundamental change in policy and strategy. We shifted from confrontation to negotiation, identifying and recognising the root causes of the conflict. The success story that Sri Lanka is fast becoming also demonstrates the value of the support of the international community acting in concert. That the global community moving with a common purpose can succeed in re-establishing peace, democracy and prosperity has been amply demonstrated in the Sri Lankan experience. After 20 years of conflict our people are now enjoying the fruits of 20 months of peace. The role of the international community in enabling us to move from war to peace has been outstanding. The facilitation that Norway provided, has resulted in bringing the Government and LTTE together in several rounds of negotiation. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's continuing declaration of commitment to a political solution has been invaluable. The moral and material support which our other front line sponsors - India, the EU, Japan, Canada and the US along with the multilateral institutions of the UN and the rest of the international community have given, and continue to give us, has guaranteed that our efforts to consolidate and maintain the peace will strengthen and develop. In Oslo last November our international partners endorsed and underwrote a paradigm shift in policy when the Government and LTTE accepted that the future political order in Sri Lanka would include moving towards a federal polity where the unity and territorial integrity of the country would be ensured. Again, in Tokyo in June this year, 52 nations and 21 multilateral agencies, many of them of the UN system, pledged their support to Sri Lanka's peace efforts, rehabilitation and development programmes. The massive, and unparalleled, financial contributions alone totalled US $ 4.5 billion over a four-year period. These are indeed landmark events underlining the value and strength of international action. I must however inform this Assembly that like in all negotiations of a peace process we find ourselves today at a temporary impasse in the talks. Within the next few weeks we should know the results of a comprehensive review undertaken by the LTTE in response to our earlier proposals regarding an interim administrative arrangement for the north and east of our country. That they should take so much time and effort can be seen as a positive sign. We in turn will look positively at the proposals put forward by the LTTE and will do everything in our power to keep the peace process moving forward to a successful conclusion. Meanwhile our collective efforts, handsomely supported by the international community and the multilateral agencies, at providing relief, rehabilitation and development to the conflict affected areas of our country proceeds apace. Economic growth is marching ahead from a negative growth of minus one per cent in the year 2001 to possibly 6% this year and tourism is booming. Yes Mr President, so far this has been the story of Sri Lanka. And yes, Mr President, there have indeed been some success stories in the UN too in the recent past, in Haiti, Somalia, Angola, Kosovo, East Timor. But these are not enough. Mr President, The UN represents an unique concept and international order formulated by the allied powers to address the challenges to peace and security, and to development and democracy in the aftermath of World War II. President Roosevelt in his 1943 Christmas Eve radio talk said that as long as Britain, Russia, China and the United States stuck together in determination to keep the peace there was no possibility of an aggressor nation arising to start another world war. But the world the UN is called upon to represent today is an immeasurably changed world. Today's problems, as the Secretary General has reminded us are problems that respect no borders, and no laws. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, environmental degradation, alienation and exclusion, conflict, global terrorism, disease and endemic poverty are among the foremost of these. Inescapably, the UN remains the central, indispensable forum in which we can collectively and democratically respond to the challenges that we in common face. But the UN itself is under enormous stress. This strain comes from the structure of the UN itself. As a result the adequacy and effectiveness of the rules and instruments devised over 50 years ago, to bring order and reason to the post World War 11 international scene, are being questioned. The apparent irrelevance of the current multilateral rules and institutions to deal with the manifold problems of today compel our urgent attention. In the words of the Secretary General, it challenges our ability "to deal with the least difficult issues and to do so effectively". Hence the rationale for reform, which is insistent, compelling and radical and cannot be averted. For words without action are meaningless as we learnt in Sri Lanka at bitter cost. Take for example the profound issues surrounding Iraq. There are members in this hall today who believe passionately that the United States and their allies were wrong to intervene in Iraq. Then there are those of us who feel that the United States and their allies had no choice but to intervene, that the failure of the United Nations had created the need for a world policeman however reluctant it might be. But Iraq is more than the divergence of views on a major issue. It shows the inadequacies of the present collective security system. A decision making system which grappled with the issue of Iraq for over a decade without solution and created a deadlock at a most critical time. The UN has already paid a dreadful price. The attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad not only deprived the world community of some of its most devoted and talented servants but raised to the fore issues relating to the mandates entrusted to the United Nations by its Member States. It represents, undoubtedly, a direct challenge. A challenge which must be met. Any reform must be radical in order that in the changed world, so different from that which it was called upon to serve in 1945, the United Nations has the capacity to cope with war, poverty, human rights, terrorism and a dramatically changed environment where weapons of mass destruction have become so potent a symbol. We have to move from rhetoric and cosmetic change to major surgery if we are to come out of the woods. Rhetoric is not a substitute for decisive action. Frantic activity is not a substitute for concerted action and the passing of resolutions do not make a tangible difference to the day to day lives of our peoples. And above all remember that inaction in itself is a deliberate and a considered decision to do nothing. We should not rival the League of Nation's impotence on Abyssinia. The problems we encounter at the present times compel us to courageously and resolutely address and overcome the fundamental inadequacies that afflict our international institutions and processes. This year we had the propitious coming together of three events which have framed thus far the political financial and economic ordering of our world. I refer to this present session of the United Nations General Assembly, the gathering of the Finance Ministers at the Bretton Woods Institutions and the discussions at Cancun on the re-ordering of the World Trade regime. At all three meetings the call for structural reform was insistent and compelling. All three, the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Twins, and GATT were born out of the trauma and dislocation of the Second World War. For over 50 years they have served our many causes in varying ways at times with limited success, at times with despair in their inability to effectively deal with the fundamental problems of the day. After the Asian crisis the Bretton Wood institutions have come under close scrutiny and today we are discussing how the developing countries can have a bigger say in their decision making. The recent experience under the Doha round of the WTO process at Cancun further illustrate the problems that face us. No one expected an agreed formula to come out of Cancun. On the other hand it need not have ended in collapse. The Secretary General's report has identified many of the defects of the system that need to be addressed. Other Speakers too have made proposals in this regard. At this stage, I would like to mention that in our view any expansion of the Security Council as a result of reforms must be of manageable number and Asia must be given its due numbers. This was ignored in 1945. While many have urged radical reform of the structure of the UN so as to make it able to respond to the challenges which confront multilateralism in the present times, most have been hesitant to suggest ideas which are both practical and doable. I believe the time has come for all of us who accept in principle the value of this institution - the United Nations and the objective it stands for, to think out of the box; to think creatively and imaginatively and unconventionally. If I were to hazard an approach it would be on the lines of going back to our roots. The outline of the UN prepared at Dumbarton Oaks in August and September 1944 were agreed to at Yalta in February 1945 at Head of Government level. The Charter was signed at the final meeting in San Francisco in April 1945. All this was completed in just 10 months. I for one, would like to suggest that the Secretary General and a carefully selected group of political leaders could themselves come up with recommendations to reform the United Nations. Their recommendations could be placed before a special session of the General Assembly at which Heads of States and Government will be present. I suggest that the time frame for this need not be any longer than at the inception of the United Nations 58 years ago. In conclusion let us remind ourselves that September 11th was a tragic wake up call for all of us. 19th August was a tragic wake up call for the United Nations. We have before us a historic opportunity. To build a United Nations worthy of the people whom we have the honour to represent. To build a United Nations where honesty is not clouded by diplomacy, where realism replaces rhetoric and where action supplants treaties. Thank you.


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