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Tharaka defends President’s foreign trips

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Tharaka Balasuriya, has defended the President’s recent foreign trips against criticism. 

He dismissed claims that the trips were unnecessary, emphasizing their importance in strengthening Sri Lanka’s foreign relations and securing new partnerships.

Mr. Balasuriya stressed that Sri Lanka cannot afford to be isolated on the global stage. 

He argued that foreign relations are crucial for the country’s development, and that the President’s visits are essential for building bridges and fostering cooperation with other nations. He dismissed criticisms of the trips as baseless, asserting that they play a vital role in Sri Lanka’s pursuit of progress.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya, speaking at a press briefing today (01) titled ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country,’ held at the President Media Centre (PMC) highlighted recent efforts to attract investment and rebuild the nation.Sri Lanka’s recent diplomatic efforts have focused on economic recovery and international cooperation. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Wickremesinghe and the Foreign Minister engaged the business community in discussions on rebuilding the nation and attracting investment. This dialogue aimed to leverage Sri Lanka’s potential within the global market.

Furthermore, the President’s participation in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Kampala addressed broader geopolitical concerns. Discussions centred on navigating the current power dynamics and Sri Lanka’s long-term economic trajectory within the context of the evolving global landscape by 2050. These engagements highlight Sri Lanka’s proactive approach to securing its future through international partnerships and strategic economic planning.

President Wickremesinghe’s participation in the G77 + China Summit addressed crucial issues like climate change and epidemic threats, particularly their impact on developing nations like Sri Lanka. Discussions included strategies for managing economies in the face of these challenges, and exploring the transition towards a green economy.The state minister defended the president’s foreign trips, emphasizing their importance for Sri Lanka’s development. He acknowledged criticisms but dismissed them as unfounded, highlighting the benefits of participation in international conferences. These events, he argued, provide opportunities to build new connections and strengthen existing relationships, which are crucial for a country seeking to avoid isolation and achieve progress. In his view, foreign official trips play a vital role in strengthening foreign relations and fostering development.

The ability to engage directly with private sector leaders opens doors for political leaders to make development decisions tailored to specific needs and investments. This fosters collaboration and potentially accelerates progress.

The recent visits served a dual purpose. Firstly, they solidified the “offline policy,” suggesting a renewed focus on domestic affairs. Secondly, discussions addressed the crucial issue of preventing regional spill over from the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. By collaborating with regional leaders, the state minister expressed confidence in containing these conflicts. He further emphasized the contribution of these interactions to global peace, State Minister Tharaka explained. 
The state minister extended an invitation to foreign leaders to continue the dialogue on economic and social measures while suggesting a commitment to international cooperation and collective problem-solving.

(President Media Division)

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SL wins 1st T20I by 3 runs

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Sri Lanka won the 1st T20I match against Bangladesh by 03 runs, after a thrilling game.

Winning the toss, Bangladesh invited the visitors to bat first, where the visiting Sri Lankans scored 206/3 before limiting the Bangladesh team to 203/8.

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Fuel prices revised

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The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) has announced that fuel prices will be revised with effect from midnight today (March 04).

Accordingly, prices of Petrol Octane 92 and Auto Diesel have remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, the prices of Petrol Octane 95, Super Diesel and Kerosene have been reduced.

A litre of Petrol Octane 95 has been reduced by Rs. 09 to Rs.447, while a litre of Super Diesel has been reduced Rs. 10 to Rs.458. The price of a Kerosene litre too, has been reduced by Rs. 05 to Rs. 257.

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8 Lankans trafficked to Myanmar, rescued

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The Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that 08 Sri Lankans out of the 56 trapped in cybercrime centres in Myawaddy area in Myanmar have been rescued by the Myanmar government authorities and are currently in the Myawaddy Central Police Station. 

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Myanmar is currently working on the early repatriation of the rescued Sri Lankans. As per information made available by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Myanmar, the 56 Sri Lankans who have been trafficked are being held in four separate locations in the Myawaddy area and the rescued eight Sri Lankans were in one of these locations in an area that could be accessed by the Myanmar government, a statement by the MFA adds.

The statement further adds : 

The rescue operation undertaken by the Myanmar government follows intensified diplomatic engagements including a communication from President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed to the Prime Minister of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing requesting for early intervention and support to rescue and safely repatriate the trapped nationals, which was conveyed via diplomatic channels to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar on 22 February 2024. 

In January 2024, Foreign Minister M. U. M. Ali Sabry took this issue up with the Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar Than Swe, requesting urgent intervention to rescue Sri Lankan nationals highlighting the seriousness of the situation of the Sri Lankan victims who have been enslaved in cybercriminal activities and urging that early action be taken to rescue all the affected individuals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Myanmar continues to make every effort to rescue and repatriate all Sri Lankan nationals, who have become victims of human trafficking and are trapped in Myanmar, in close collaboration with the Myanmar government authorities. 

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