On 11 October, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka presented his Letters of Credence in a solemn ceremony bringing together the newly-appointed Ambassadors of 23 countries in the magnificent St. Alexandre’s Hall of the Kremlin. The credentials were received by Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, accompanied by Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Yury Ushakov, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Russian President.
President Putin addressed a comprehensive speech outlining Russia’s position with regard to the key foreign policy developments, with an emphasis on defending the principles of the UN Charter of the sovereign equality of states, opposing intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states and the domination of force and sanctions. He also spoke about Russia’s role in the common effort to combat international terrorism. His speech was concluded with overviews of current state of bilateral relations with the countries represented by the Ambassadors in presence.
The President noted Russia’s interest in ensuring closer economic ties with Sri Lanka, particularly in agriculture, fisheries and tourism, adding that he wished to highlight the important intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the defence sphere, signed in September 2018.
The ceremony was followed by a series of informal conversations between the Russian President and the new Heads of Foreign Missions. Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka had a brief conversation with President Putin who clinked glasses with the Ambassador in a toast to Sri Lanka-Russia relations. The Ambassador also had a discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sinhala, and was happy to hear Minister Lavrov sharing recollections of his early diplomatic career which started in Sri Lanka, including the memories of Mervyn De Silva, Ambassador Jayatilleka’s father.
On return from the ceremony, the Ambassador and Sanja Jayatilleka hosted a reception for the Embassy personnel along with Russian Foreign Ministry officials representing the Second Department of Asia: Danila V. Ganich, Deputy Director overseeing Russia-Sri Lanka relations, Vyacheslav A. Ermolaev, Counsellor and Head of Sri Lanka Desk, the junior desk officers, Anastasia Nemova and Anton Vereschagin, and Igor S. Samorodsky, State Protocol Officer who had greeted the Head of Mission on his arrival to Russia and then accompanied the Ambassador throughout the ceremony in the Kremlin.
In response to the Ambassador’s speech underscoring the importance of his mission in Russia, Deputy Director D.V. Ganich assured of the full support of the MFA’s Second Department of Asia to facilitate the interaction with the Officialdom of the Russian Federation.