22 March 2023
Minister Pandor to host her Sri Lankan counterpart, HE Mr Ali Sabry in a Bilateral Meeting
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will this afternoon, at 13h30 host a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, HE Mr Ali Sabry, who has undertaken a Study Visit to South Africa from 21 – 25 March 2023.
Minister Ali Sabry is leading a fact-finding delegation to South Africa to study South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and related processes that South Africa underwent in its quest towards a non-racist, non-sexist, democratic South Africa.
Sri Lanka committed to undergo a similar process following the end of its three-decade civil war in 2009.
Minister Sabry will brief Minister Pandor on developments in Sri Lanka relating to the country’s nation-building and reconciliation programme, and the objectives of undertaking this study tour.
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations with the Republic of South Africa on 12 September 1994. Sri Lanka opened its resident diplomatic mission in Pretoria on 1 October 1997, whilst South Africa opened its resident diplomatic mission in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in September 2007.
South Africa attaches great importance to its historic relationship with Sri Lanka in particular Sri Lanka’s solidarity and support for South Africa’s liberation struggle.
Bilateral relations between the two countries are cordial and conducted under the umbrella of the structured Partnership Forum (PF) that was established through the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of a Partnership Forum on 1 December 2003. The last session (the 8th) of the Partnership Forum was held, virtually, on 15 February 2022 and it is expected that Sri Lanka will convene the Ninth session of the PF at a mutually agreed date during 2023.
South Africa’s trade with Sri Lanka amounted to exports of approximately R4,1 billion and imports of approximately R 571 million during 2022 (SARS 2023). The considerable trade surplus that South Africa enjoys with Sri Lanka is mainly due to the export of coal to Sri Lanka. The export of coal constitutes approximately 64% of total exports. Major imports from Sri Lanka include textiles, vegetable products, as well as plastics and rubber.
The economic outlook for Sri Lanka remains constrained in 2023. The World Bank also indicates that Sri Lanka’s output is expected to contract further in 2023 by 4.2%. Sri Lanka’s output fell by 9.2% in 2022, as the government ran out of the foreign exchange needed to cover food and fuel imports. Adverse global economic conditions further restrain Sri Lanka’s prospects.
On the multilateral front, Sri Lanka is currently the Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security till 2027, IORA Vice Chair for 2021-2023 and will take over as the IORA Chair this year.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpanberg Road