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Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana visits Bosnia and Herzegovina

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana paid an official working visit to the Republic of Bosnia & Herzegovina from 28th to 30th September 2017 on an invitation extended by its Government.

The Foreign Minister met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia & Herzegovina Igor Crnadak on 28th September. The one to one meeting between the two Foreign Ministers was followed by formal discussions between the delegations of Sri Lanka and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Welcoming Minister Marapana and the Sri Lanka delegation, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina highlighted the importance of the meeting and saw it as a springboard for opening diplomatic relations and bilateral cooperation between the two countries, both of which are in the process of post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction.

Foreign Minister Marapana, thanking his counterpart for the invitation, made a brief reference to the Non-Aligned Movement, of which former leaders of the two countries, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and President Tito were pioneers. He also assured Minister Crnadak that a Bosnia – Sri Lanka parliamentary friendship group would shortly be formed in the Sri Lanka Parliament.

Foreign Minister Crnadak stated that though the main focus of Bosnia & Herzegovina at present is on integration with the European Union and regional cooperation with Balkan states, they are also very keen to open a new chapter in foreign affairs by establishing trade and investment promotion between Bosnia and Asian countries like Sri Lanka. He said that to that end the opening of an Honorary Consulate in Colombo is a welcoming step.

Minister Marapana invited Minister Igor Crnadak to visit Sri Lanka to promote bilateral relations. At a press conference, which followed the meeting, the two Ministers outlined the importance of the present visit in promoting mutual cooperation and goodwill between the two countries.

On 29th September, Foreign Minister Marapana had a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina Josip Brkic in the latter’s constituency at Medjugorje. At the meeting, Deputy Minister Brkic gave an account of the history of Medjugorje and explained how it became a center of religious significance for the Roman Catholics.

Deputy Minister Brkic explained to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister the constitutional background of the Government of Bosnia & Herzegovina, particularly their system of elections, the rotating Presidency and their application for European integration. The Deputy Foreign Minister briefed Minister Marapana on the Human Rights problems faced by Bosnia & Herzegovina during the Yugoslavian war and the difficulties of post- war reconciliation.

Foreign Minister Marapana briefed the Bosnia & Herzegovina Deputy Foreign Minister on the current constitutional reform process in Sri Lanka and offered Sri Lanka’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in its quest for European integration.

The Foreign Minister was accompanied by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to Austria Mrs. Priyanee Wijesekera and Mr. Namal Zoysa, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Vienna.

Embassy of Sri Lanka

04th October 2017