Sri Lanka FM seeks Singapore’s assistance in securing bridging funding during official visit
Friday, June 10, 2022, 9:55 p.m. SL time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
June 10, Colombo: At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. GL Peiris paid an official visit to Singapore from June 8 to 9, 2022. An official visit by a Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to Singapore took place after four years.
During the visit, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister held a bilateral meeting with his counterpart Dr. Balakrishnan. He also met Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who is due to assume the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore on June 13, 2022.
Singapore’s Minister for Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam, hosted the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister for lunch on June 8 with the participation of Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, S. Iswaran, as well as many other dignitaries.
Discussions with the Singaporean side focused on the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka. Minister Peiris has requested assistance from the Singapore government for Sri Lanka to secure bridge financing, increase foreign direct investment and increase opportunities for Sri Lankan exports to Singapore.
The minister also sought the support of the Singapore government to secure more job opportunities for Sri Lankans in Singapore. At present, the two countries are working closely together on the deployment of healthcare workers, especially nurses, to Singapore.
Minister Peiris also met with the Chief Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policy of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, on June 9, and had an in-depth discussion on the current situation in Sri Lanka.
Minister Peiris briefed Minister Shanmugaratnam on issues relating to Sri Lanka’s economy and staff-level discussions with the IMF. He requested Singapore’s assistance on how to resolve these issues.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also had discussions with Singapore’s Minister of State for Health and Labor Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Singapore’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Chandra Das, Benedict Cheong, CEO of Temasek Foundation International, Vice President (Asia) of Temasek Group and senior officials from the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During these interactions, the Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the Government of Singapore and the Temasek Foundation International for the extensive assistance provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support Sri Lanka’s health response by providing supplies and much-needed medical equipment and also collaborating to overcome supply chain disruptions in the production of face masks in Sri Lanka for distribution by Temasek in Singapore and overseas.
The Minister also expressed his gratitude for the recent appeal by the Singapore Red Cross Society for humanitarian assistance for which the Singapore government has pledged USD 100,000. The first consignment of medical supplies from the Red Cross appeal has already arrived in Sri Lanka.
The Foreign Minister’s official visit delegation included High Commissioner Sashikala Premawardhane, senior officials from the Sri Lankan High Commission in Singapore, and the Minister’s Private Secretary TN Gamlath and Chairman of the National Learning Authority and Industrial Training (NAITA) of Sri Lanka. .
After the official visit, Foreign Minister Peiris is expected to attend the IISS-Shangri-La 2022 Dialogue to be held from June 10-11, 2022. The official visit was coordinated by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore.