Foreign Minister concludes successful official visit to UK
January 29, London (LNW): Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, has concluded his official visit to the United Kingdom, marked by engagements with prestigious academic institutions, key government officials, and business leaders.
Minister Sabry’s visit was initiated by an invitation from the renowned Cambridge Union and Wilberforce Society of the University of Cambridge.
On 23 January, he addressed the Cambridge Union, the world’s oldest debating society, focusing on Sri Lanka’s path to economic recovery.
His discussion with the academic community highlighted the country’s efforts and challenges in navigating economic revitalisation.
Sabry’s address at the Cambridge Union marks a significant moment as the only recent Sri Lankan speaker at this esteemed platform.
Continuing his academic engagements, on 24 January, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister addressed the Wilberforce Society and the Lucy Cavendish Finance Society.
His talk centred on the accessibility of development finance across South Asia, drawing insights from Sri Lanka’s experiences with the IMF debt restructuring process.
Following this, The Wilberforce hosted a formal dinner in honour of Foreign Minister Ali Sabry at Christ’s College.
Prior to his speech at the Wilberforce Society, Sabry also interacted with students and academia at the Sri Lanka Society of the University of Cambridge.
During the bilateral phase of the visit on 25 and 26 January, he held discussions with Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, the United Nations, and the Commonwealth.
The talks focused on reviewing the multifaceted Sri Lanka-UK relationship and cooperation at multilateral forums. Minister Sabry briefed the UK side on the progress in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process and expressed gratitude for UK’s support as a member of the Paris Club.
In addition to government-level meetings, Sabry engaged with UK Parliamentarians, including Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs The Rt Hon David Lammy, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Council of Sri Lankan Muslim Organisations UK (COSMOS) Bob Blackman, Chair APPG Foreign Affairs Dr. Lisa Cameron, and former Secretary of State for Defence the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP.
These interactions included briefings on Sri Lanka’s economic progress, developments in the reconciliation process, and insights into international politics.
The visit concluded with roundtable discussions with Sri Lankan Tour Operators organised by Sri Lankan Airlines and a Business Roundtable organised by the Sri Lanka-UK Chamber of Commerce.
These sessions facilitated meaningful discussions on enhancing the economic relationship between Sri Lanka and the UK, addressing the tourism industry, and fostering collaboration within the business community.
High Commissioner Rohitha Bogollagama and senior officials of the High Commission accompanied Foreign Minister Ali Sabry during the University of Cambridge events and bilateral meetings.