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Three Sri Lankans honoured by Cuba


(June 14, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) The ambassador of Cuba to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Enna Viant Valdés, hosted a unique award presentation ceremony in a gesture of warmth and friendship to thank Cuba's Sri Lankan friends on 10th June 2008 at the Galadari Hotel Colombo. (Image: Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka holding the Diploma awarded by the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) - Havana)

On this occasion, the Cuban Government paid tribute to distinguished Sri Lankans drawn from various spheres. The Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana awarded diplomas to distinguished Sri Lankans, who had given “long-standing friendship and support” to Cuba.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka holding the Diploma awarded by the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) – Havana.

Among the eminent Sri Lankans who received the awards were Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Minister of Science and Technology and Chairman of the APRC, Mr. DEW Gunesekera, Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration and Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

When presenting diplomas, Enna Viant was joined by a high-level Cuban delegation from the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana. This delegation led by Dr. Ismael Clark Arxer, President of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba, is presently in Sri Lanka to attend the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Solidarity with Cuba to be held on June 14th (Saturday).

In thanking the Ambassador and the Cuban delegation, Minister DEW Gunesekera spoke of the close relations between Sri Lanka and Cuba going back to 1959 when the Government of Sri Lanka recognized the new Government in Cuba after the Revolution led by Fidel Castro. The Ambassador and members of the Cuban delegation also spoke of the strong ties of support and friendship that existed between the two countries and paid glowing tributes to the recipients of the diplomas, who had been instrumental in various ways in progressing these bonds in the challenging current world context.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Delegation has called on Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. During this meeting, the Prime Minister thanked Cuba for the assistance it has been giving to Sri Lanka by way of scholarships and dispatching of volunteer doctors under a UN programme.

The visiting scientist explained to Prime Minister Wickramanayaka the vast strides Cuba has made in the field of bio-technology. According to Dr. Ismael Clark, after the collapse of the Soviet Union when Cuba faced a crisis, it turned attention to developing bio-technology as a way of overcoming the crisis. Cuba is now a centre of excellence in bio-technology.

Moreover, Cuba has developed an excellent medical system where new vaccines have been developed to prevent hepatitis, meningitis and influenza. Cuba has also almost completely controlled the mosquito menace. The visiting President of the Academy also explained the advances made by Cuba in the field of disaster management.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope that this visit will lead to expansion of bilateral relations between our two countries into these new fields as Sri Lanka can benefit from the advances made by Cuba in bio technology and other areas such as disaster management
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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