On February 5, 2019 the Russia-Sri Lanka Friendship Society (RSLFS) organized a reception, held at the Federation Council of Russia, on the occasion of the 71st Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
H.E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to Russia, Madame Sanja Jayatilleka, as well as several members of the Sri Lankan Diplomatic Mission attended the event.
The official part of the event began with a welcome speech given by Mr. V. I. Tokarev, pilot-cosmonaut and the President of the Russia-Sri Lanka Friendship Society. While addressing the audience, Mr. Tokarev expressed his hope for further development of the bilateral relations between the two countries and pointed out that his recent first trip to Sri Lanka had become an opportunity for him to see ‘warm hearts and kind eyes’ of Sri Lankan people.
Further, H. E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka thanked Mr. V. I. Tokarev for his kind words about Sri Lanka and underlined the value of the Russia-Sri Lanka Friendship Society and its role in the framework of cooperation between Sri Lanka and Russia. He noted that since the establishment of diplomatic relations Russia and Sri Lanka had never experienced any conflicts. H. E. the Ambassador urged the audience to contribute towards bringing the Sri Lankan-Russian cooperation to a new and higher level, achieving even more remarkable results for the benefit of the two countries.
Further, Mr. V. M. Polozkov, General Secretary of the Russian Association for International Cooperation, who moderated the official part of the occasion, underscored the value of historic and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and shared the highlights of the recent trip of the delegation of the Russian side of the RSLFS to Sri Lanka. He gave a brief summary of the meetings the delegation had had with representatives of the Sri Lankan Government and the Speaker of the Parliament, and agreements that had been reached as a result of those meetings.
Mr. S. V. Kalashnikov, Presidium Chair of the Russian Association for International Cooperation and the First Deputy Chair of the Economic Policy Committee of the Federation Council of Russia, noted the progress in the Sri Lanka-Russia relations and emphasized the importance of tourism as an industry of Sri Lanka and the necessity for its further development. He also pointed out that the unveiling of the bust of Yuri Gagarin, a famous Soviet Cosmonaut and the first human to journey into outer space, that had taken place at the National Library with participation of Ms. Rosy Senanayake, Mayor of Colombo, the aforementioned delegation from the newly inaugurated Russia-Sri Lanka Friendship Society and other Sri Lankan officials, had become more evidence of the deep connection between Sri Lanka and Russia.
Furthermore, former Ambassadors of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka Mr. V. P. Mikhaylov and Mr. A. A. Karchava addressed the gathering and ensured of their determination to participate in the development of the Sri Lanka-Russia bilateral relations using their extensive professional experience, diplomatic background as well as direct association with Sri Lanka and its people.
During the event, H. E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka and Madame Sanja Jayatilleka met with a group of students who study Sinhalese as a foreign language at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.
As the official part of the event was concluded, the Russia-Sri Lanka Friendship Society surprised the audience with a musical performance of the ‘Sirenes’ musical ensemble, an all-women and all-saxophone band, after which the guests were invited to a buffet with dishes of the traditional Russian cuisine.