He reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to further advance and consolidate its longstanding bilateral ties with Romania, when he met the Romanian Secretary of State for Bilateral Global Affairs Monica Gheorghita on 29th June. This was the first official visit undertaken by the State Minister since assuming the new portfolio.
Adding new momentum to the Sri Lanka – Romania political relations spanning sixty years since 1957, the bilateral consultations were wide ranging and substantive. The talks reviewed bilateral interests in the political, economic, educational, cultural, security, regional and multilateral areas. The discussions focused on expanding cooperation in the sectors of power and energy, rural development, agriculture, health, finance and banking, tourism, education and labour. Specific areas included waste and water management, gem and jewellery promotion, locomotive rehabilitation and production, flight training aircrafts, technical assistance for upgrading oil refineries, shipbuilding and ports, ayurveda, anti corruption expertise, among others.
A cultural programme featuring traditional Romanian and Sri Lankan music, dance and cuisine was proposed to be held in Bucharest and Brasov in Romania, and Colombo and Kandy in Sri Lanka, in late 2017 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on Mutual Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic Passports was also signed.
Demonstrating the keenness on both sides to revitalize and expand bilateral trade and connectivity, a business forum was organized in Bucharest by the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The State Minister addressed the forum, and highlighted the investment opportunities emerging for Romanian investors in Sri Lanka. He was accompanied by a Sri Lankan business delegation representing diverse business interests.
State Minister Senanayake, while thanking the Romanian Government for the support extended through the European Union for restoring the GSP+ trade facility to Sri Lanka, also provided a detailed overview of the Sri Lankan Government’s focus on restoring democracy, fostering reconciliation and ensuring economic development as peace dividends to all Sri Lankans. In response, State Secretary Monica Gheorghita welcoming the positive developments in Sri Lanka reiterated her Government’s full support for the country’s reforms programme, including its outreach to the international community.
State Minister Senanayake followed-up on the bilateral consultations held earlier in the day by meeting with the Romanian Secretaries of State of the Ministry of Energy Iulian –Robert Tudorache, Ministry for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship Sterica Fudulea and the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice Ms. Daniela Barbu. Tangible proposals for public-private partnerships were discussed and chief among these were technical assistance for training Sri Lankan personnel in the oil and gas sector through the Romanian University of Oil and Gas, and a formal arrangement for recruitment of skilled Sri Lankan labour in select industries.
The State Minister was also invited by the Rector of the Transylvania University in Brasov Professor Ioan-Vasile Abrudan to visit the university and its state -of the- art research and development centre specializing in automobile safety, food and tourism, and laser technology. During the discussions, Rector Abrudan announced the award of a grant by the Transylvania University to an officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka to facilitate a MA or PhD program in a select field of study. This was in appreciation of the enduring ties of friendship between Sri Lanka and Romania, including the growing academic links between the Universities of Transylvania and Peradeniya.
In Brasov, the State Minister also met with the Brasov County Council President Adrian-Ioan Vestea and discussed ways to increase interaction among people and businesses of Brasov and Kandy town through a city twining program. Given the presence of over 100 Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Brasov, the State Minister also met with several Sri Lankan workers while in the city.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Romania accredited from Warsaw, Poland, Tissa Wijerathne, Acting Director General Dhammika Semasinghe of the Foreign Ministry, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Romania George Savuica and Honorary Consul of Romania in Sri Lanka Geoffrey Aloysius were associated with the State Minister during the visit.