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Bulgarian President seeks increased bilateral trade and tourism flows with Sri Lanka

sri lanka tourism

Ambassador Dhammika Kumari Semasinghe presented Letters of Credence concurrently accrediting her as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Bulgaria with residence in Warsaw, Poland, to President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria, at the Presidential Palace in Sofia on 22 November 2023. The formal presentation ceremony was followed by a  meeting between Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and the Bulgarian President.

Conveying greetings and best wishes from President Ranil Wickremesinghe to President Radev, Ambassador Semasinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s readiness to revitalize the bilateral engagement and discussed a new roadmap for increasing cooperation in the ICT, agriculture, labour, education, tourism and manufacturing sectors, where the prospects for mutual benefit were promising. She outlined the opportunities for Bulgarian investors and businesses as Sri Lanka continued to emerge as an important logistics hub in the Indian Ocean region and, as its economy became more competitive through the Government’s structural and digital reforms programme, along with a greater focus on modernizing agriculture and upscaling the tourism sector.  

President Radev welcomed the accreditation of Sri Lanka’s envoy as a timely  impetus to reactivate bilateral ties and, proposed increasing engagement at the political, institutional, people to -people (tourism and education) and business-to-business levels to add value to the over six decade long relationship. Recalling the emerging economic stature of Asia, and recognizing Sri Lanka’s strategic commercial importance in that context, he shared Bulgaria’s interest in strengthening and expanding its relations with Sri Lanka. He assured Sri Lanka of Bulgaria’s enduring goodwill and ready support to transform the bilateral engagement into a productive multifaceted partnership. President Radev expressed his keen interest in having Sri Lankan niche products  and cuisine made available to the Bulgarian people.   He was both pleasantly surprised and delighted, when Ambassador Semasinghe  shared details of the already established Sri Lankan health-food store “Ceylon Spice” and the Sri Lankan restaurant –“rCurry- Sri Lankan Cuisine” in the heart of Sofia, Bulgaria’s Capital.

Foreign Policy Secretary to the President of Bulgaria, Mr. Roussi Ivanov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (career diplomat), Mr. Tihomir Stoytchev, attended the Ambassador’s meeting with President Radev.

In keeping with Bulgarian diplomatic practice, the formal ceremony was preceded  by the presentation of copies of Letters of Credence and Recall by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador-designate to Deputy Foreign Minister Tihomir Stoytchev at the Foreign Ministry, followed by a substantive meeting.

During the official visit to Bulgaria, Ambassador Semasinghe had meetings with Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Piyatissa Perera, proprietor of the Sri Lankan niche products boutique,“Ceylon Spice” and the proprietor and team of the Sri Lankan restaurant, “rCurry-Sri Lankan Cuisine”.

Currently serving as Sri Lanka’s envoy to the Republic of Poland, Ambassador Semasinghe is a career diplomat with  27 years of both, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic experience, having served in different capacities in the political, economic and multilateral sections of the Foreign Ministry and  abroad, in the Sri Lanka Missions in New York, Washington, DC  and New Delhi. 

She began her undergraduate studies at the Peradeniya University and, completed the BA degree in International Relations and Public Policy at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA. She has a Master’s in International Public Policy from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, USA. Ambassador Semasinghe hails from Thimbiriyawa in the Nikaweratiya Pradeshiya Sabha in Sri Lanka’s  North Western Province.

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