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Prof. Peiris meets Foreign Minister of Bangladesh



Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris on Monday met Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen at the State Guest House Padma in Dhaka.

Foreign Minister Peiris recalled the visit of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Bangladesh in March 2021 for the joint celebration of the 100 Birth Anniversary of Bangabandhu and the Golden Jubilee of the Independence Celebration of Bangladesh and that the discussions were very fruitful and the Prime Minister appreciated all aspects of his visit.

The Foreign Minister expressed warm appreciation for the consistent support which Sri Lanka received from Bangladesh in the international fora especially the Human Rights Council and the CMAG (Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group) of which the previous Foreign Minister who is the current Education Minister of Bangladesh was the Chair.

The two Ministers also discussed the active commercial relationship between the two countries with Sri Lankan investment into Bangladesh being in the region of approximately 2.5bn USD. About 110 Sri Lankan companies are operating here and are excelling, especially in the services sector, such as insurance, banking and power sectors. However, there is scope for improvement of the volume of trade which is presently at the level of 200 mn USD annually.

Sri Lanka is keen on a Preferential Trading Agreement with Bangladesh and is happy that Technical negotiations have commenced and are proceeding.

There is particular interest in cooperation in the field of shipping because of Sri Lanka’s focus as a shipping hub and would like to strengthen the cooperation between the ports of Chittagong in Bangladesh and the ports of Colombo and Hambantota.

Emphasis was made in particular on the feeder services and coastal shipping arrangements. Cooperation between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka regarding a trans-shipment hub would be beneficial to Bangladesh because of the reduction of time and nautical miles.

The Foreign Minister said that a substantial number of Sri Lankan students are receiving their education in Bangladesh with Chittagong being popular among medical students.

Sri Lanka has reciprocally offered to assist with the training of nurses of Bangladesh in educational institutions in our country.

In regard to tourism, direct connectivity between Colombo and Dhaka is helpful and the Bangladesh Minister intimated the interest of a private Bangladesh airline to operate flights to Colombo.

The two Ministers discussed in detail cooperation between the two countries, within the framework of the IORA with particular reference to conservation of marine resources and security dimensions.

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Renew firearm license for 2024 before 31st December 2023 – Ministry of Defence




The Ministry of Defence has announced that the renewal of firearm license of individuals/ institutions for the year 2024 will be carried out from 01 October 2023 to 31 December 2023 and the required details can be downloaded from the Defence Ministry’s website

Firearm license renewal for 2024 will not be carried out after 31 December 2023. It is also informed that possession of a firearm without a valid license is a punishable offense under provisions of Section 22 of the Firearms Ordinance.

Registration renewal of Private Security Firms for the year 2024/2025 will be carried out from 01.10.2023 to 31.12.2023. Any renewals made after the deadline will be subjected to a fine or legal action.

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“Unite to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048” – President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Milad-Un-Nabi message urged all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048.

“Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all” he said.

The full text of the President’s message :

“My greetings to the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and around the world, observing Milad Un Nabi, being the auspicious occasion commemorating the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.

He is celebrated as the final messenger of Allah, known for profound teachings of love and peace that encompass humanity. His journey to spread the message of Islam in the challenging societal context of that time, was marked by significant trials. Even in the face of adversity, the Holy Prophet’s unwavering patience and equanimous strength served as powerful attributes. He was victorious in attaining his aspirations, through boundless sacrifices for faith and humanity.

As we celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday today, it is timely to resolve to uphold the values that were the hallmark of his life, which include mutual understanding, brotherhood, assistance to one another and fairness. Our commitment to fostering social harmony is the most meritorious tribute which could be paid to his legacy.

I urge all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path, to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048. Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all.

I wish all those of the Islamic faith, a joyous Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, filled with love, peace and prosperity!”

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

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National Security Oversight Comm. Chief denied US visa



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on National Security, Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera has told Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena that the US should not deny a visa to an MP nominated by the Sri Lankan Parliament to join an official delegation unless he/she posed a threat to US interests.

In a letter dated 25 Sept., 2023, the former Public Security Minister has informed Speaker Abeywardena the issuance of visas was the prerogative of the US mission, but the issue of the US Embassy insisting that he be replaced with a member of a minority community must be taken up.

Of the Chairpersons of 17 Oversight Committees chosen for a 10-day study tour of the US organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and USAID, later next month, only Weerasekera has been denied a visa.

Declaring that he had B1 (business) and B2 US visa (tourism) or combination of the two, Rear Adm. Weerasekera said that he had no special interest or reason to join the delegation but it was wrong for the US Embassy to deny him a visa.

The MP has said that he will seek an explanation from Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardena in this regard. “In my capacity as Chairman of the Oversight Committee on National Security, I intend to call a meeting with Secretary Defence and Armed Forces chiefs to discuss this matter,” MP Weerasekera said.

Weerasekera retired in late 2006 after having served the Navy with an unblemished record for well over three decades.

Responding to another query, the former Minister said that the Parliament had been asked by the US Embassy to name another member of his committee, representing a minority community for the programme.

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