State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake attended the 12th Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on 4th to 05th September 2017 at the invitation of Hon. Karl Erjavec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. The visit was preceded by a bilateral segment on 30th August to 2nd September 2017 in the Capital Ljubljana.
The 12th Bled Strategic Forum, organized by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Lake City of Bled, provides a policy platform annually for leaders of Central and South Eastern Europe and other regions, to discuss and explore creative solutions to some of the present day complex global social, political, economic and security challenges. This year the Forum focused on global nuclear governance, water for peace and security and the effect of rapid economic transformation on societies. Sri Lanka is invited to participate each year, and it does so regularly not only to actively participate in the discussions of the Forum, but also engage with leaders of this region and others. State Minister joined the panel discussion on “Realistic hope – How transformation happens faster than one thinks” and joined the discussions at the interactive session. He met with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić during the Bled Forum.
During the bilateral segment of the visit, State Minister Senanayake had discussions with the Slovenian counterpart State Secretary Andrej Logar and reviewed the ongoing areas of bilateral cooperation. He reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s interest and commitment to revitalising its bilateral relations with Slovenia and countries in Eastern and Southern Central Europe, and underlined the shared commitment between these countries and Sri Lanka to uphold democratic values and practices such as good governance, the rule of law, and human rights. In order to review progress of the Sri Lanka-Slovenia bilateral engagement, the State Minister proposed convening the second session of bilateral political consultations in Colombo later in 2017 or early 2018. The identified areas of cooperation include tourism, IT, education, renewable energy, and science and technology.
In response, the Slovenian State Secretary Logar welcomed the positive developments in Sri Lanka and reaffirmed his Government’s full support for the country’s reforms programme, including its active engagement with the international community.
In Piran, Slovenia’s seaside tourist city, the State Minister met with its Mayor Peter Bossmann and discussed ways to increase cooperation in the areas of culture, sports, and tourism. The two sides discussed promotion of two way tourism through promotional road shows and exchange of visits by travel agents. Ayurveda spas, training of chefs, cultural/heritage tourism including film and food festivals, were also promoted. Recognizing Slovenia’s highly developed tourism sector and its expertise, State Minister Senanayake proposed active bilateral cooperation in this area to upgrade Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry.
State Minister Senanayake also held bilateral discussions with Mrs. Eva Stravs Podlogar, State Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development (Tourism) and Technology, Mr. Klemen Postisek, State Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy of Slovenia and Dr. Ernest Petric, Advisor to the President on International Affairs and International Law.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Slovenia accredited from Vienna, Austria Her Excellency Priyani Wijesekera, Director, West Division of the Foreign Ministry W.M. Dharmapala, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Austria Namal Wijayamuni Zoysa were associated with the State Minister during this visit.