The First Round of Foreign Ministry Consultations between Sri Lanka and New Zealand was held virtually on 08 April 2021. The meeting was co-chaired by Actg. Director General of the East Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry Rohana Ambagolla and the Divisional Manager, South, and Southeast Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand Andrew Needs.
A wide range of matters of mutual interest were discussed. This included enhancing cooperation in multiple spheres ranging from trade, development cooperation, defence, people-to-people exchanges, and education to sports and tourism. The two countries agreed to finalize a bilateral arrangement for establishing a constructive mechanism for enhancing trade and economic cooperation and for increasing bilateral exchanges in all areas of engagement. The need for strengthening partnership on issues of shared interest in the international fora was also discussed.
Sri Lanka welcomed the opening of the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo later this year, highlighting it as an important milestone in the diplomatic relations between both countries, which would go a long way in expanding substantive interactions between Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Senior officials of the Foreign Ministry and the Department of Commerce as well as diplomatic officers at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Canberra, which is concurrently accredited to New Zealand, participated on behalf of Sri Lanka at the virtual meeting while New Zealand was represented by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Chargé d’Affaires of New Zealand to Sri Lanka.
Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and New Zealand were established in 1955 and the commencement of Foreign Ministry consultations has provided an ideal platform to review and expand existing bilateral partnership between the two countries.