At the invitation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, H E Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister Hon (Prof.) G. L. Peiris undertook an official visit to Singapore from 8-9 June, 2022. An official visit of a Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to Singapore is taking place after four years.
During the Visit, a bilateral meeting was held with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, following which Minister Peiris was hosted to an official lunch. Minister Peiris also met with Minister of Finance H E Lawrence Wong, who is scheduled to assume the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore on 13th June 2022. Minister for Law and Home Affairs H. E. K Shanmugam, hosted the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister to a lunch on 8th June with the participation of H.E. S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore and several other dignitaries.
The discussions with the Singapore side centred on the current economic crisis faced by Sri Lanka. Minister Peiris sought assistance from the Government of Singapore for Sri Lanka to secure bridging financing, increase foreign direct investments and increase opportunities for Sri Lankan exports in to Singapore. The Minister also sought the support of the Government of Singapore to obtain more employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Singapore. At present the two countries are closely working on deploying healthcare workers, in particular, nurses to Singapore.
The Minister also met with H.E. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies of Singapore, and had interactions with Senior Minister of State for Healthcare and Manpower of Singapore H. E. Dr Koh Poh Koon, Non- Resident High Commissioner of Singapore to Sri Lanka H E Chandra Das, Mr. Benedict Cheong, CEO of Temasek Foundation International, Vice Chairman (Asia) of the Temasek Group, and senior representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
During the above interactions, the Minister thanked the Government of Singapore and Temasek Foundation International for the extensive assistance extended throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support Sri Lanka’s healthcare response by providing much needed medical supplies and equipment and also collaborating on overcoming supply chain disruptions by producing facemasks in Sri Lanka for distribution by Temasek in Singapore and overseas. The Minister also expressed appreciation for the recent appeal by the Singapore Red Cross for humanitarian assistance for which the Government of Singapore pledged USD 100,000. The first consignment of medical supplies from the Red Cross appeal has already reached Sri Lanka.
The delegation of the Foreign Minister for the official visit included High Commissioner Sashikala Premawardhane, senior officials of the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore, and Mr. T.N. Gamlath, Private Secretary to the Minister and Chairman of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) of Sri Lanka.
Following the official visit, the Minister is scheduled to attend the the IISS-Shangri-La Dialogue 2022 to be held from 10-11 June 2022. The Official visit was coordinated by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore.