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French President meets President Wickremesinghe (Pics)

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President of France Emmanuel Macron made a historic visit to Sri Lanka yesterday (28), following his trip to the South Pacific Region.

This visit marked the first time a French President had visited the country.

During the visit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Macron held friendly and productive bilateral discussions which lasted for an hour and fifteen minutes.

The President’s Media Division said the main objective was to enhance and elevate the existing relations between Sri Lanka and France, especially considering the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic ties being celebrated this year.

President Wickremesinghe expressed admiration for France’s significant role in global affairs, particularly in areas such as climate mitigation, global debt restructuring, and matters related to the Indo-Pacific region.

President Macron recalled his recent conversations with President Wickremesinghe in Paris, which took place during the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact.

He reaffirmed France’s willingness and commitment to supporting Sri Lanka in its economic recovery.

As the fourth-largest creditor to Sri Lanka, France pledged its assistance in the debt restructuring process, aiming for a positive outcome for the country.

In a Twitter post following the discussions, President Macron stated, “Sri Lanka and France are two nations in Indian Ocean sharing the same goal: an open, inclusive and prosper indo-pacific. In Colombo we confirmed it: strong as in our 75 years of diplomatic relations, we would open a new era to our partnership.”

The discussions between the two leaders focused on strengthening cooperation in various sectors, including politics, economics, tourism, climate change, sustainable development, and maritime activities. As part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations, several specific areas for further collaboration were identified.

The PMD added these areas of cooperation included the establishment of a school for maritime safety and security, the opening of a permanent office for the French Agency for Development (AFD) in Sri Lanka, the initiation of high-level diplomatic dialogues, cooperation in the education sector, and the enhancement of efforts to combat human trafficking in the maritime safety and security sector.

Additionally, both leaders exchanged views on topics of regional and multilateral interest in the current global context.

President Macron expressed keen interest in collaborating with Sri Lanka during its upcoming chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), of which France is a member.

In turn, President Wickremesinghe showed interest in the Indian Ocean Commission, where France actively participates.

President Wickremesinghe praised President Macron’s timely initiative in organizing the event held in Paris in June, which he attended.

The Head of State also conveyed Sri Lanka’s agreement to join the Paris Agenda for the People and the Planet, emphasizing the country’s commitment to global efforts for a sustainable future.

The French delegation accompanying President Emmanuel Macron for bilateral discussions included the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Mrs Catherine Colonna, Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka and Maldives Mr Jean-Francoise Pactet, Advisors to the French President Mr Fabien Mandon, Mr Walid Fouque and Mr Josue Serres, Head of Asia Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Benoit Guidee, the Press Counsellor of the President of France Mr Jonas Bayard, State Minister for overseas territories Philippe Vigier and Advisor of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Florian Cardinaux.

The Sri Lankan delegation comprised of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ali Sabry, the Senior Advisor to the President on National security and Chief of Staff Mr Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary to the President Mr Saman Ekanayake, Foreign Secretary Ms Aruni Wijewardane, Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe, Economic Advisor to the President Dr R.H.S. Samaratunge, Director General/Europe & North America the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka Ms Shobini Gunasekera and Mr Randula Abeyweera, Director Youth and Sustainable Development to the President.

(newsradio.lk)

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Expressways generate whopping income during Avurudu season

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The expressways have generated an income of Rs. 159,802,950 from April 10 – 13, Road Development Authority (RDA) says.

According to the Director of Expressway Operation Maintenance and Management Division – R.A.D. Kahatapitiya.

Over 4,350,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this period, he has added.
As many as 366,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this three-day period.

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Special transport arrangements to those returning to Colombo

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Special train services are in operation from this evening (April 14) for people to return to Colombo after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the Railways Department said.

Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways –  N.J. Indipolage stated that accordingly, eight additional train journeys will be in operation from Badulla, Galle and Beliatta railway stations to Colombo Fort.

The Department of Railways also mentioned that the office trains will be operational as per usual from April 16.

Meanwhile, the National Transport Commission has said that special buses will be deployed to transport those who had gone to their hometowns during the New Year.
Bus associations have also stated that buses to Colombo will be operational.

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Local multi-day fishing trawler seized with ICE & heroin worth over Rs. 3798 Mn.

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In another successful intelligence operation of the Sri Lanka Navy, a local multi-day fishing trawler (01) carrying a large haul of narcotics, with 06 suspects aboard, were intercepted about 133 nautical miles (about 246 km) off Dondra, south of Sri Lanka. 

The operation also resulted in the seizure of another local one-day fishing trawler (01) with 04 suspects, believed to have been there to fetch the consignment of narcotics mid-sea. The operation was mounted by deploying Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship (SLCG) Samudraraksha which made the apprehension on 12th April 2024.

 The haul of narcotics included about 179kg and 906g of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and about 83kg and 582g of heroin (with their packages). The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera arrived at the Galle Harbour on 13th April to inspect the consignment of narcotics held in this operation.
The Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard regularly patrol and conduct search operations along the island’s coast to prevent illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, stemming via sea routes.

During this dedicated operation based on naval intelligence, a suspicious multi-day fishing trawler, which was about 133 nautical miles (246 km) off the south coast of the island, was intercepted and searched by SLCG Samudraraksha. As the fishing trawler was suspected of smuggling a haul of crystal methamphetamine and heroin in 17 sacks, during the search, the narcotic-carrying trawler was held on 12th April, with 06 suspects aboard.

Additionally, SLCG Samudraraksha inspected another local one-day fishing trawler, which was plying suspiciously in the sea area. During the inspection, 04 suspects were apprehended, along with the trawler, on suspicion of attempting to exchange narcotics with the multi-day trawler previously seized.

Following a thorough search of the suspicious multi-day fishing trawler at the Galle Harbour on 13th April, authorities recovered 17 sacks containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin. The haul of crystal methamphetamine, weighing about 179kg and 906g (including packages), were in 129 packages, stuffed in 13 sacks and the stash of heroin, weighing about 83kg and 582g (including packages), were in 76 packages, contained in 04 sacks. The consignment of narcotics, along with the 06 suspects and the multi-day fishing trawler was handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) for onward legal action.

Moreover, the 04 individuals, along with the one-day fishing trawler, which were seized on suspicion of being involved in a drug exchange at sea, were also handed over to PNB for further legal action.

The individuals held in the operation are known to reside in the Weligama, Imaduwa, and Galle areas, ranging in age from 23 to 54 years old. Meanwhile, the gross street value of the consignment of drugs seized during this operation is believed to be more than Rs. 3798 million.

Including the recent confiscation, the Sri Lanka Navy has held drugs with a gross street value of over Rs. 9300 million during operations mounted so far in 2024. The Sri Lanka Navy – the country’s first line of defence is committed to coordinating with other law enforcement authorities, to carry out anti-drug operations of this nature in order to foil drug smuggling attempts being made in the guise of fishing.

(navy.lk)

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