Foreign minister Ali Sabry said yesterday (08) that upon successful completion, Sri Lanka stands to gain a significant advantage of US $17 billion throughout the entire debt restructuring process.

This advantage may manifest in various forms, including reductions in principal amounts, interest payments, or extended repayment timelines, he told the media.

Such restructuring efforts hold the potential to alleviate our debt burden by US $17 billion. Simultaneously, these endeavours will pave the way for the continuation of developmental activities within the country at the earliest opportunity, said the minister.

He also announced the government’s expectation to finalize the foreign debt restructuring process by June.

If successful, this endeavour could lead to a reduction of approximately US $17 billion of Sri Lanka’s debt burden.

He also said that the primary focus is on navigating the challenge of debt restructuring.

The initial phase of domestic debt restructuring has been completed, with attention now turned to foreign debt restructuring.

Negotiations with private investors linked to sovereign bonds aim to finalize this phase by June, with a targeted completion before June 2024.

Successful restructuring could result in a $17 billion advantage for Sri Lanka, potentially reducing debt burden through various means.

These efforts will also facilitate the continuation of developmental activities within the country.

Speaking at the ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ press briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre, he gave a brief overview of the recent foreign policy decisions, the foreign relations and the high-level visits the Sri Lankan government has undertaken, particularly the recent visit of the Japanese Foreign Minister and the visit of the Iranian President.

The Minister also emphasized that Sri Lanka’s adherence to a non-aligned foreign policy, coupled with its commitment to maintaining relations with all nations while safeguarding its sovereignty, has resulted in numerous concessions for the country.

Minister Ali Sabry further highlighted the government’s endeavours to garner support for Sri Lanka’s economic development by fostering strong ties with both China and India.

“Sri Lanka prides itself on upholding an independent foreign policy, which doesn’t mean isolation but rather engaging with all nations—a concept known as non-alignment. Our commitment lies in maintaining this legacy of non-alignment, independence, and the sovereignty of our Parliament and state. Hence, it’s crucial for us to collaborate with both Eastern and Western nations, nurturing closer ties with our allies.

Furthermore, diplomatic initiatives are currently in progress to retrieve Sri Lankans detained by smugglers in Myanmar and to protect our youth enlisted in mercenary forces linked to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. These issues have also been addressed with Russian security authorities," he added.

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