State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tharaka Balasuriya leads the delegation for Bilateral Political Consultations to Tbilisi, Georgia
State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tharaka Balasuriya headed the Sri Lanka delegation to the 2nd round of bilateral Political Consultations held in Tbilisi on 19th June 2023.
First round of consultations took place in Colombo in August 2016.
Georgian Delegation was led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs H. E. Alexander Khvtisiashvili.
Sri Lanka delegation was comprised of Ambassador of Sri Lanka resident in Türkiye and accredited to Georgia, Ms. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake Director, Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Mr. Madusanka Jayasinghe. Meanwhile from the Georgian Foreign Office, Director & Head for Department for Asia-Pacific, Ambassador Alexander Nalbandov, Counsellor at the International Law Department, Ms. Christina Tamoeva and Counsellor at the Department of Asia-Pacific, Mr. Merab Chachua were associated with the meeting.
Discussions were revolved around several agreements and MoUs related to a range of subjects such as tourism, agriculture, culture, shipping, education and aviation which would pave the way for more effective cooperation in those fields. It was agreed that both sides would expedite the processes within their governments to conclude all the pending agreements at the earliest and to deliberate internally on proposed MoUs.
Opportunities for trade and investment in both countries in tourism, education, construction, renewable energy and IT sector aimed at bringing mutual benefits were discussed and the way forward was agreed.
Training for Georgians in the hospitality sector, possible foreign employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Georgia, development of cooperation in education with increasing opportunities for Sri Lankan students in Georgia, particularly in the field of medical studies, as well as bringing Georgian collaboration for education sector in Sri Lanka, joint tourism promotion, cooperation in multilateral fora, issues faced by Sri Lankan students in Georgia were also some of the issues discussed.
It was also underscored that although it was at very short notice that dates for these consultations were agreed, the meeting has been pending since 2018; outcome was significant, particularly in the context of both countries not having resident Embassies in each other’s capitals. In fact, it was agreed that much progress has been made on bilateral collaborations since Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye, also accredited to Georgia, presented her Credentials exactly a month before, on 19th May 2023 to the President of Georgia.
Considering the visa processing time for Sri Lankan students and others, and considering the opportunities for increase bilateral business cooperation, State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya invited Georgia to consider opening up of a diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka.
On the sidelines of the meeting, State Minister had meetings with the Georgia’s Innovation Technology Agency (GITA) and Georgian National Tourism Administration and visited a state-of-the-art coffee manufacturing plant. He also met with the Head of Georgian American University and few others from the Georgian business community.
Ms. Nino Makhviladze, Hony. Consul for Sri Lanka in Georgia too was associated with the meetings.