President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the Island today (25) after completing a successful three days official visit to Russia strengthening the foreign relations and bringing many developmental benefits to the country.
The President visited Russia on an official invitation made by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.This would mark a Sri Lankan Head of State receives an official invitation to visit Russia after four decades and it will be the first official visit to Russia by a Sri Lankan leader since 1974, when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Moscow.
President Sirisena received a warm welcome at the Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow on March 22. He was received by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov, Chief of Protocol and other high officials of the Russian Federation. Sri Lankan ambassador to Russia Dr. SamanWeerasinghe and embassy staff and family members were also present at the airport, where the brief ceremony was held.
During this tour President Maithripala Sirisena held fruitful bilateral discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian President warmly welcomed the President Sirisena when he arrived at the Green Room in Kremlin. The two Presidents referring to the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Russia agreed to take effective steps to ensure strong bilateral relations between the two countries.
President recalling his last meeting with the Russian President in Goa last year thanked him for extending an invitation and ensuring support for economic development in Sri Lanka as well as for Russia’s enormous support in international forums.
During this bilateral meeting Russian President presented a significant gift to President Maithripala Sirisena symbolizing the close relationship between two countries. This special gift was a royal sword (Kastane) of the Kandy era. This sward was taken to England in 1906 and later bought by Russia at an archeological artifact auction of Sotheby’s in England.
The President also met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and during that meeting the latter said that President Sirisena’s visit to Russia is a beginning of a new chapter in bilateral relations between the two countries.
President Sirisena was received with a Guard of Honour at the Kremlin’s Alexander Garden when he visited the Red Square to place a wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, a war memorial dedicated to the soldiers killed during the WWII.
President Maithripala Sirisena said his objective is a continuation of strong friendship with Russia for the coming century, while opening a new page of sixty years long Russia-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. He has made this remarks when he addressed the Sri Lankan community in Russia on March 24 at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Moscow.
First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena, Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Science and Technology Research Minister, Susil Premajayantha, Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister, John Amaratunga, Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs Minister S. B. Navinna and Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara and Deputy Minister Arundika Fernado accompanied the President to Russia.