May 21, 2024
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    Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan successfully conclude 2nd round of Foreign Office Consultations in Astana

    April 11, 2024

    Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan successfully concluded the second round of Foreign Office Consultations in Astana today (11 April 2024).  The Sri Lanka delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane, and the delegation of Kazakhstan was led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Alibek Bakayev.

    On high-level bilateral visits, the Kazakhstan delegation invited President Ranil Wickremesinghe to undertake an official visit to Kazakhstan. A visit by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry to participate in the Astana International Forum in June 2024 was also confirmed. On bilateral cooperation, trade, tourism, energy, transport and logistics were prioritized. It was acknowledged that the resumption of direct charter flights by Air Astana to Sri Lanka has contributed to increasing tourist arrivals from Kazakhstan to Sri Lanka and the two sides will explore a reciprocal visa free arrangement for normal passport holders.

    Foreign Secretary Wijewardane extended sympathies to those affected by the recent unprecedented floods that occurred in certain parts of Kazakhstan. She highlighted the initiatives taken by Sri Lanka in climate change including the tropical belt initiative, climate justice forum and international climate change university.

    The Kazakh side expressed their confidence in Sri Lanka's economic recovery and welcomed the recent progress on all indicators on this front.

    The Consultations concluded with a decision to hold the third round in 2025. Foreign Secretary Wijewardane is also expected to meet the Vice Minister of Energy, Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports and the Vice Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan, as well as the Secretary General of the Conference on Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and visit the Astana International Financial Centre.

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    The Foreign Office Consultations follow a high-level meeting between President Wickremesinghe and Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held in September 2023 where it was agreed to reciprocally establish Embassies in Colombo and Astana. The Sri Lanka Embassy to be established in Astana will be Sri Lanka's first resident diplomatic mission in Central Asia. Sri Lanka is also a Member of Conference on Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) based in Astana.

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