On 07 July 2021, Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to French Republic was engaged in discussions with Ms. Chantal Jourdan, Member of the Parliament, and the President of the France – Sri Lanka Friendship Group of the French National Assembly, at the Parliamentary complex in Paris.
The discussion focused on key areas to be developed for the strengthening of the relationship between France and Sri Lanka namely Attracting French foreign direct investments, tourists and increasing Sri Lankan exports to the French market. Ambassador further explained about the investment opportunities available for French businesses in the Port City Project in Colombo and importing of high-quality Sri Lankan apparels to the European Union as it has become one of the most important markets for Sri Lanka.
Group President Chantel and Ambassador Hirimburegama exchanged views on the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Sri Lanka and even with the pandemic situation development work progress in the country. Ambassador briefed on the current vaccination programme and that Sri Lanka is looking forward for a sustained supply of vaccines in order to inoculate its population at the earliest.
Ambassador also highlighted Sri Lanka’s urgent request to obtain vaccines against Covid 19 through the COVAX initiative specially the AstraZeneca and further explained that Sri Lanka’s plan to open up the tourism industry with the vaccination of its employees as soon as possible in order to revive the tourism under the tourist bubble concept. The Group President Jourdan stated that she will brief the Parliamentary Group to see how they can assist to expedite Sri Lanka’s Request. Reiterated her support to help Sri Lanka to acquire vaccines.
It was also explained Sri Lanka would like receive expertise on the fields of science and technology specially in the areas of marine technology and organic agriculture as there is much to collaborate between the two countries. Group President Jourdan welcomed the ban on glyphosate in Sri Lanka as it not forbidden in Europe.
With regard to education and foreign employments, the Sri Lankan side expressed the importance of promoting French language in Sri Lanka with a view to securing employment opportunities in France in skilled and semi-skilled categories specially in the healthcare and higher education sector.
Group President Jourdan inquired about the recent incident on the grounding of the cargo ship MVXpress Pearl near Colombo harbour and it was expressed how the incident has impacted on the livelihood of the fishing community close to the area and to the environment. Ambassador appreciated President Chantel for France’s assistant given by the French experts given during the wake of the incident.
Concluding the meeting Ambassador Hirimburegama invited the Members of the France Sri Lanka Friendship Group for an official visit to Sri Lanka towards the end of this year or early next year.
During the meeting, the Ambassador was accompanied by Ms. Dulanji Herath, Head of Chancery & Second Secretary and Mr. Amila Dissanayake, Third Secretary of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in France.
Embassy of Sri Lanka