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‘Russia and SL are cooperating closely in battling the Covid-19 pandemic’ – Ambassador Yury Materiy



Several more batches of Russian Sputnik V vaccine to be sent in the near future

The Russian-Sri Lankan relations provide a good example of sincere friendship and mutual understanding that can exist between two countries. We share similar approaches to key international issues such as fighting terrorism, ensuring central role of the UN, settlement of regional and local conflicts, and many others, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka, Yury Materiy said in a message to mark Russia Day.

“Russia extended its full support to the Sri Lankan Government during the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, made every effort to oppose the anti-Sri Lankan Resolution. Russia voted against this Resolution”, he stressed.

“Our economic relations have been developing at a good pace, reaching new heights in 2020. The trade turnover recorded an increase of 24% and amounted to almost $500 million. A good opportunity to discuss prospects of bilateral cooperation, including in the sphere of economy and trade will arise during the virtual meeting of the Russia-Sri Lanka Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation is to be held in June this year”, he remarked.

Continuing, Ambassador Materiy further said: “One of major examples of our ever-growing partnership is the working visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov to Sri Lanka on January 14, 2020. The Russian Foreign Minister met with the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The visit of the Russian Foreign Minister is a major event that will give further impetus to the bilateral cooperation and will contribute to our time-tested friendship.

“Our inter-parliamentary dialogue is an efficient instrument of strengthening Russian-Sri Lankan ties. On April 7, the revival meeting of the Sri Lanka–Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association took place at the Sri Lankan Parliament, which has given a boost to relations between our legislative bodies.

“Russia and Sri Lanka are cooperating closely on battling the coronavirus pandemic. The first batch of Russian Sputnik V vaccine has been delivered to Sri Lanka on May 4, the second – on May 27. Several more batches are expected for delivery in the near future.

“Russia and Sri Lanka have always valued the importance of education for empowering the future generations. Every year, we expand the educational opportunities for Sri Lankans by providing scholarships. This year, the Russian Government has allocated scholarships to 40 Sri Lankan citizens.

“On April 1, 2021, Russia reopened its borders to Sri Lanka, which provides an opportunity for Russian airline companies and SriLankan Airlines to restart flights. It will contribute to the development of humanitarian relations, encouraging the tourist flow between Russia and Sri Lanka.

“I am confident that through joint efforts we will continue enhancing our cooperation in political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres for the benefit of our peoples.

“It is a great honour to address the people of Sri Lanka on our major national holiday – Russia Day which we celebrate on the 12th of June. It gives me pleasure to congratulate all the compatriots as well as our Sri Lankan friends on this solemn occasion.

“June 12 marks the establishment of the present-day Russian Federation, which stretches from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands, from the northern Arctic seas to Sevastopol and Crimea. Russia is a country with a millennia-long history, unique legacy and culture. Strong patriotic sentiments and respect for the Motherland always helped our people to endure all tribulations and respond to any challenges.

“Russia Day is a symbol of free and future-oriented Russia with such core principles of our development as freedom, rule of law, successful economic growth, consolidation of friendship of the peoples living in the country, utmost promotion of democracy, strengthening of our foreign policy. The aforesaid has laid the basis for the inviolable sovereignty of our State and established a reliable foundation for the protection of our national interests.

“Russia is pursuing an independent multifaceted policy and is consistently working towards reducing international tensions and strengthening the democratic principles of communication based on international law. The overriding trend of global development is the process of the formation of a multi-polar world, as well as new centres of economic and financial power.

“The turbulent development of international relations compels Russia to strengthen its position on the international arena. Russia does its best to maintain all aspects of global and regional security and puts much effort into the formation of flexible target-oriented alliances with Russia’s active involvement, such as G20, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS.

“Our country is open for cooperation based on principles of equality and mutual respect. It is high time for collective, collaborative efforts to find adequate solutions to common challenges, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, which became a crush test for international relations both at the level of individual countries and multilateral associations.

“The objective of Russian foreign policy is to contribute to the creation of a sustainable world system based primarily on the equality of all participants and non-interference in internal affairs, while maintaining the supremacy of international law in the world arena, declaring full support for United Nations’ decisions and avoiding their unilateral and arbitrary interpretation.

“The ‘centre of gravity’ of the global growth is rapidly moving towards Asia-Pacific region, including South Asia. These regions have become one of key priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. Russia is not only a European but also an Asian country, due to its geographical position, history, cultural and religious links with the East, thus becoming a natural bridge between the East and the West. Russian support was one of the determinant factors contributing to the victory of national liberation movements in Asia”.

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President requests the opposition to support the implementation of the IMF agreement




President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the Opposition to unite and disregard political differences to assist in carrying out the IMF agreement, which would aid in the development of Sri Lanka’s economy.

The President emphasized that his duty is not to condemn previous administrations but to concentrate on the development of the country. He also declared his dedication to constructing a better future by creating laws and frameworks that prevent the recurrence of past errors.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered this message in a special address to Parliament this morning (22) regarding the receipt of the Extended Credit Facility from the International Monetary Fund.

He stated that despite allegations being leveled against him that his objective was not to rescue the country from an economic crisis but to safeguard the Rajapaksa family, the international community had acknowledged his efforts to carry the country across the economic vine bridge.

The President further said that he had faith in rebuilding the beloved country where he was born, brought up and educated, and said that many past experiences were the reasons for confirming that faith.

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SJB, JVP move SC against Finance Secy. for contempt of court



The main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday (21) moved Supreme Court against Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana over his failure to provide funds required by the Election Commission to conduct the Local Government polls, ignoring an interim order issued by the apex court, on 03 March.

Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, is the petitioner for the SJB and Vijitha Herath, MP, moved court on behalf of the JVP, the leading party in the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB).

Two Opposition parties declared action against Siriwardana the day after the Freedom People’s Alliance (FPA) issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Finance Secretary to release the funds.

EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa is on record as having said that in spite of SC directive he didn’t receive fresh funding.

The petitioners sought the issuance of summons on Siriwardana for contempt of court over failure to carry out its interim orders, given on 03 March.

The petitioners want the Finance Secretary punished in terms of Article 105 (3) of the Constitution.

The SJB stated that Siriwardana had refrained from carrying out the March directives, on the basis of a Cabinet decision, taken on 13 Feb., 2023. The SJB also pointed out that the offensive conduct of the Treasury Secretary, inter alia, causes grave prejudice to the esteemed authority of the Supreme Court and in turn disturb the public confidence in the authority of the highest Court in the country. (SF)

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Minister indicates reduction in fuel prices in April



Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told Parliament yesterday that fuel prices would be reduced considerably according to the fuel price formula at the next fuel price revision, due in April.

The Minister said that the government would be able to procure fuel shipments, at lower prices, during competitive bidding, with the receipt of the IMF bailout.

There had been practical issues, and problems, in opening Letters of Credit, and obtaining credit facilities, in the recent past, as Sri Lanka could not give a guarantee to fuel suppliers, Minister Wijesekara said.

“We could not open LCs and obtain credit facilities when procuring fuel. After the IMF bailout, we will be able to procure fuel at lower prices during competitive biddings. We will be able to obtain a long-term credit facility as well. Fuel prices in the global market seem to have declined and the rupee has also gained strength against the US Dollar. Having considered all these factors, fuel prices will be reduced by a considerable margin which could be felt by the people,” he said.

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