Foreign Minister appreciates Australian support in COVID battle | Daily News

Foreign Minister appreciates Australian support in COVID battle

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena  and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in a telephone conversation with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne on Wednesday expressed his deep appreciation for the support extended by Australia towards Sri Lanka in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Minister welcomed Australian assistance, which included a COVID-19 containment package worth Rs. 1,787 million, the donation made through UNICEF of essential COVID-19 supplies and provision of protective equipment. He welcomed the Royal Australian Aircraft delivery of 9.8m facemasks and 3,200 coveralls to the Health Ministry on June 4.

The Foreign Minister requested the Australian Government’s support to procure Astra Zeneca vaccines, which the Australian Minister agreed to consider positively.

The Ministers also agreed to launch programmes to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Australia, in April next year. Acknowledging the positive role that Australian Development Assistance has played in the national development efforts of Sri Lanka, Minister Gunawardena emphasised the importance of continued support to Sri Lanka at this critical time. The Australian Foreign Minister offered to make available to Sri Lanka technical assistance to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the Express Pearl Ship in Sri Lankan waters.

Minister Gunawardena conveyed the President’s request for support for organic fertiliser based agriculture and Minister Payne responded that Australia would provide technical assistance in that field through Australian research institutes.

The Ministers discussed a wide range of bilateral and multi-lateral matters including Australia’s ongoing projects in Sri Lanka amounting to AUD $58m. Minister Payne’s assurance that Australia would continue to cooperate with Sri Lanka in its work with Commonwealth Organizations and Asian regional organisations such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Bali Process was especially appreciated by the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister.

 


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