Press Releases

Japan-Sri Lanka Foreign Minister’s Meeting and Working Dinner

July 2, 2024
Foreign Minister Kamikawa welcomes Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Sabry
Foreign Minister Kamikawa shaking hands with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Sabry
Meeting between Foreign Minister Kamikawa and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Sabry

On July 2, commencing at 5:00 p.m., Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a bilateral meeting (for approximately 60 minutes) and a working dinner (for approximately 70 minutes) with Hon. M.U.M. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, who was on a visit to Japan as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The summary of the meeting and dinner is as follows.

  1. At the outset, Minister Kamikawa welcomed Foreign Minister Sabry’s visit to Japan and expressed gratitude for the warm welcome in Colombo during her visit to Sri Lanka in May this year. Minister Kamikawa stated that the mutual visits between the foreign ministers of both countries within a two-month period demonstrate the deepening of bilateral relations. In response, Minister Sabry stated that Japan has been a long-standing development partner, and expressed gratitude for Japan’s support and contributions to debt restructuring after the economic crisis of the year before last. Minister Sabry also expressed joy at fulfilling his dream of revisiting Japan since participating in the Cabinet Office's “Ship for World Youth” program 28 years ago.
  2. Minister Kamikawa welcomed the final agreement reached between the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Sri Lanka on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on debt restructuring, and commended the efforts under the Wickremesinghe Government, including Minister Sabry, in addressing the debt issues. Minister Kamikawa also stated the importance of an early signing of the MOU on debt restructuring, and expressed hope for the implementation of debt restructuring with other creditor countries and private creditors in a transparent and comparable manner. Minister Kamikawa also expressed Japan’s intention to further support Sri Lanka's development by promptly resuming yen loans for existing projects once the MOU on debt restructuring is signed and the Sri Lankan government's intention to swiftly conclude a bilateral agreement is confirmed. In response, Minister Sabry explained the current situation regarding the signing process of the MOU and the future outlook regarding debt restructuring, and stated that he will proceed with the necessary measures in order to realize the resumption of yen loans for existing projects at the earliest opportunity.
  3. Regarding national reconciliation, Minister Kamikawa commended the progress made by concrete efforts by the Sri Lankan government, and stated that a more stable relationship between the Sri Lankan government and the Northern and Eastern provinces, which have great potential for economic growth, would further enhance the investment environment for overseas companies including Japanese businesses. Minister Sabry explained the Sri Lankan government’s efforts aimed at national reconciliation including decentralization of power and the land restitution project by the President, and expressed his appreciation for Japan's cooperation.
  4. Minister Kamikawa conveyed that, given the strategic importance of Sri Lanka which is situated on the sea lane between Africa and the Pacific, Japan aims to further strengthen cooperation with Sri Lanka in the maritime sector. Minister Sabry, in turn, stated that Sri Lanka, as a peace-loving maritime nation, will continue to cooperate with various countries and contribute to the peace and stability in the Indian Ocean.
  5. Minister Kamikawa expressed the hope that initiatives like the Cabinet Office’s “Ship for World Youth” program, which became the opportunity for Minister Sabry’s visit to Japan 28 years ago, as well as the new Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS), will nurture talented individuals that will contribute to Sri Lanka’s development and serve as bridges between the two countries. The two Ministers agreed that active people-to-people exchanges are the foundation of bilateral relations, and they concurred on actively promoting such exchanges between the two countries.
  6. The two Ministers held a candid exchange of views on regional affairs, including the situation in East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Ukraine, and concurred on maintaining close communication between the two countries. The two Ministers also exchanged views on global issues, and while mentioning Minister Sabry’s planned visit to Hiroshima, regarding disarmament and non-proliferation, Minister Kamikawa stated that she would like to further cooperate with Sri Lanka towards achieving a world without nuclear weapons. Minister Kamikawa also expressed hope for the acceleration of Sri Lanka’s domestic procedures towards the conclusion and early entry into force of the Additional Protocol (AP). Furthermore, regarding Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), Minister Sabry explained the history, current situation, and challenges related to women’s social advancement in Sri Lanka, and stated that he would like to further strengthen cooperation with Minister Kamikawa who is a “champion” of WPS. The two Ministers also agreed to deepen cooperation on global issues including strengthening of the functions of the UN, including the Security Council reform. In this context, Minister Sabry expressed his expectations for Japan’s role as a bridge between the “Global South” and the “Global North”.

Back to Press Releases