The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Stéphane Dion, paid an official visit to Sri Lanka on 28 and 29 July.
This official visit of a Foreign Minister of Canada to Sri Lanka took place after 13 years.
Minister Dion called on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan during his visit; and met with a group of Parliamentarians of the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform.
Following discussions with his counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera, Minister Dion announced two important projects, namely, the National Languages Equality Advancement Project amounting to CAD $ 11.2 million aimed at improving the delivery of government services in both official languages, Sinhala and Tamil; and the Entrepreneur Financial Centre Project amounting to CAD $ 8.8 million which aims to establish an entrepreneur financial centre with Dévelopment International Desjardins’ and SANASA Development Bank PLC in Sri Lanka, to help stimulate private sector development and support job creation by improving livelihoods of entrepreneurs who operate micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Minister Dion, together with the Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan, witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the National Languages Equality Advancement Project by the High Commissioner for Canada to Sri Lanka Shelley Whiting and the Secretary to the Ministry in-charge on 28 July.
Discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera covered all areas of mutual interest including economic development, trade, investment, reconciliation, the constitutional reform process, multilateral engagement, and people-to-people ties, as well as steps being taken by Sri Lanka for the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 of 1 October 2015.
On 28 July, the Foreign Minister of Canada visited Jaffna, where he met with civil society representatives and called on the Governor and Chief Minister of the Northern Province. During his visit to the Jaffna Library, Minister Dion gifted books in English and French that had won the Governor General’s Award in 2015.
The Minister also visited Canada-supported development projects in Jaffna including the Jaffna Hospitality Training Centre and an Agro Economic Development Project (ADP) funded by Canada with UNDP and FAO support, relating to agro economic cooperatives in the dairy and agriculture industries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 August 2016