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December 5, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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Sri Lankan and Maldivian Foreign Ministers meet. Image Credit - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Sri Lanka addresses threat of chemical weapons

The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, A.M.J. Sadiq, participated in the General Debate of the 21st session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague.

Ambassador Sadiq emphasised the need for international cooperation to strengthen measures to counter chemical threats, and highlighted that Sri Lanka will host the Fifth Regional Basic Training Course on Emergency Response to Chemical Incidents for States Parties in Asia.

Sri Lankan and Maldivian Foreign Ministers meet

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera, has met with his Maldivian counterpart, Dr. Mohamed Asim, on 2 December, in Colombo. They held discussions on enhancing bilateral relations in trade, education, health, investment and security.

The two Ministers agreed to hold the next Joint Commission meeting between the two countries in early 2017.

Sri Lanka seeks international support to promote PPPs

The Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, has urged international development partners in Sri Lanka to assist in advancing public-private partnerships (PPPs). The Minister highlighted that development agencies, such as the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, can support PPPs when the national government is unable to do so.

The Minister further emphasised that PPPs are essential to achieving Sri Lanka’s economic goals, which depend on private sector-led infrastructure development.


Italian Prime Minister to resign

The Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, has announced his resignation, following a referendum on constitutional reform. Approximately 59% of voters voted against the proposed reforms.

The reforms were expected to simplify Italy’s governing system and revive the country’s economy. Critics stated that the reforms would have transferred more power to the central government.

Venezuela prepares to add new banknotes

Venezuela is preparing to introduce larger cash denominations, up to a value of VEF (Venezuelan Bolivar) 20 000, to address its ‘inflationary currency’.

The Central Bank of Venezuela stated that this would improve the efficiency of payments, facilitate commercial transactions, and minimize the costs of production. Inflation in Venezuela was 180% in 2015, and the International Monetary Fund expects it to rise to 2 000% in 2017.

Austrian Green Party candidate wins presidential election

Alexander Van der Bellen, the candidate from the Austrian Green Party, has won the rerun presidential election held on 4 December. President-elect Van der Bellen stated that he would be an ‘open-minded, liberal-minded and above all a pro-European president’.

Mr. Van der Bellen’s opponent, the far-right Freedom party candidate, Norbert Hofer, congratulated the President-elect and urged all Austrians to work together.

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