Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the traditional diplomacy has changed and today’s top priority is economic diplomacy.
Addressing 16 newly appointed ambassadors and high commissioners at the Temple Trees today (Dec 26), he urged them to work towards attracting investments, promoting exports, tourism and enhance the image of Sri Lanka as a nonaligned neutral country with friendship towards all.
“We have not deviated from that policy and our ports are open everybody and it is your duty to get this message across to the world,” he told the envoys.
Referring to the unprecedented economic challenges and debt restructuring, the Prime Minister asked the Sri Lankan missions to work on investments, joint ventures and bilateral partnerships so that Sri Lanka could increase production, exports and develop rapidly rather than depending on aid and loans.
He asked the missions to work in close cooperation with expatriate community and their associations to obtain more investments, employment opportunities and development assistance.
Pointing out that Sri Lanka is making a rapid economic recovery, he said the friendly nations could cooperate with the country’s efforts to be self-sufficient in food and develop agriculture, industry, IT and tourism.
Prime Minister Gunawardena asked the envoys to extend fullest cooperation to the investment and export promotion committees established by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The new envoys, of which 12 are from Sri Lanka Overseas Service took part in the discussion. They include two former Foreign Secretaries, Chithranganee Wagiswara (Australia) and Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage (Indonesia). Other Ambassadors and High Commissioners are Manisha Gunasekera (France), H.M.G.R.R.K. Wijeratne Mendis (Bahrain), Dr. A.S.U. Mendis (Vietnam), Varuni Muthukumarana (Germany), Kapila Jayaweera (Lebanon), M.H.M.N. Bandara (Israel), K.K.Theshantha Kumarasiri (Ethiopia), Dr. Chanaka H. Thalpahewa (Philippines), Priyangika Wijegunasekara (Jordan), B. Kandeepan (Kuwait), Himali Arunathilaka (Geneva), Udaya Indrarathna (United Arab Emirates) and Sandith Samarasinghe (Consul General- Melbourne). Four of the envoys who are currently overseas, took part in the discussion virtually.