Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday said that the government of President Maithripala Sirisena had realised the true value of the Diaspora community and was ready to take tangible measures to accommodate them.
Minister Samaraweera was addressing a gathering at a brief function at his ministry to hand over dual citizenship certificates to a selected group of persons. Public Order and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga was also present on the occasion.
Controller Immigration and Emigration M. N. Ranasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara and Acting Secretary to the Ministry of Public Order and Christian Religious Affairs W. A. Perera also participated.
Minister Samaraweera said: “Today you formally renew ties with your country of origin, Sri Lanka, and become citizens of this country again in addition to the countries which you have chosen as your new homes.
In fact, since 1987 only 34,000 Sri Lankans abroad have made such a firm commitment.
The government of President Maithripala Sirisena realises the true value of the diaspora community and welcome all of you as our citizens.
You are all citizens of this country who now carry the flag for Sri Lanka overseas
There is much you can contribute and there is much that we can learn from your experiences.
For too many years since independence, we allowed ourselves to be divided along different lines- ethnic, religious, linguistic, class- whatever it was. It is time that we are united in mind and spirit.
Our diaspora has demonstrated their contribution to the advancement of science and technology, the pursuit of justice and the production of wealth in many overseas nations.
Now that Sri Lanka has opened its doors to welcome them, we hope they acknowledge and respond by returning home to become stakeholders in Sri Lanka’s new journey towards peace, reconciliation and development.
Many say you have the best of both worlds, but in you, we have the best of both worlds.
We hope that you would take the task of persuading the world that Sri Lanka is not only a paradise for tourists, but that it is becoming a paradise for investors too.
While we try to think of new ways to embrace you and engage with you, I urge you to be innovative and creative in joining this journey.
But above all, it is your passion that Sri Lanka needs: the passion to motivate and mobilize the diaspora and the world to join our journey in creating a new Sri Lanka as a reconciled and united nation at peace.”