In the year 2023, Sri Lanka celebrates a significant milestone - the 27th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic connections between the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Lithuania.
The origins of Lithuania trace back to its emergence as an independent democratic state from the former Soviet Republic, known as Soviet Lithuania or Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. This transformation occurred on March 11, 1990, when Lithuania seceded from the Russian Federation.
Since its newfound independence, Lithuania has actively pursued cooperative and sovereign international relations with numerous countries across the globe. Formal diplomatic ties between Lithuania and Sri Lanka were established on August 20, 1996, during Lithuania's emergence as an independent nation and its affiliation as a friendly member of the European Union.
At the inception of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Lithuania, the role of Ambassador was entrusted to the distinguished diplomat Alfred Kulendran from Sri Lanka. Alfred Kulendran, who had previously served as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Sweden from 1996 to 1999, took on the task of establishing and representing the diplomatic ties with Lithuania as the Associate Ambassador of Sri Lanka.
On the Lithuanian side, Mohhamad Anzar Jabir was appointed as the first Lithuanian Consul in Sri Lanka from 1996 to 2014. His unfortunate passing led to a temporary closure of the Lithuanian Embassy's office in Sri Lanka.
However, following the endorsement of the Lithuanian Government, the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly reinstated the Lithuanian Consulate. This revival was made possible by the appointment of Mr. R.M. Mannivannan in 2015.
Mr. R.M. Manivannan – Honorary Consul
Mr. Mannivannan, who holds the position of Chairman at Supreme Global Holdings Group, a distinguished commercial enterprise in Sri Lanka, was entrusted with this diplomatic role.
The diplomatic landscape between the two nations saw Limonas Talat Kelpsa as the pioneer Lithuanian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, designated by the Lithuanian Government. Subsequently, the role was succeeded by the former Ambassador Julius Pranevičius, and soon to come, H.E. DIANA MICKEVIČIENĖ, who is slated to assume the role of Ambassador (designate) to Sri Lanka from the Lithuanian Embassy.
Over the course of the past 27 years, Sri Lanka and Lithuania have nurtured a robust and flourishing diplomatic relationship. Their collaboration has manifested in significant advancements across various domains such as tourism, trade, higher education, and technology. Both countries have been actively contributing to shared decisions that aim to enhance the welfare and prosperity of Sri Lanka, underpinned by a spirit of cooperation.
Notably, the Republic of Lithuania has been closely monitoring Sri Lanka's ongoing economic challenges and is working collaboratively with the European Union to extend support to the Sri Lankan populace. Looking ahead, the Lithuanian consulates and embassy in Sri Lanka are coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka to introduce the island nation as an appealing long-term vacation destination to Lithuanian tourists. This reciprocal arrangement aims to foster greater engagement between the two nations.
Furthermore, Lithuania has gained popularity as a favored destination for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, students pursuing higher education, and those seeking overseas employment opportunities.
As both countries celebrate 27 years of fruitful diplomatic ties, they aspire to fortify their relations through enhanced cooperation in economic, entrepreneurial, scientific, technological, innovative, cultural, political, and economic spheres. This enduring partnership stands poised to deepen and evolve, ushering in a promising era of mutual growth and collaboration.