"The election of the new President and the peaceful and democratic transition of power provides a surge of hope for strengthening the democracy in Sri Lanka. Several measures taken by the new President and the Government to bring the country back on the democratic path demonstrate the positive changes taking place in Sri Lanka. The new change creates hope for Germany further strengthening its relationship with Sri Lanka," stated Norbert Kopp, District Mayor of Steglitz-Zehlendorf of Berlin at the 67th Independence Day celebration of Sri Lanka organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka at the town hall of the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf of Berlin attended by over 300 Sri Lankans and Germans. Kopp also congratulated the Sri Lankan community assembled in the town hall to its togetherness, which was visible at the event.
In his welcoming speech, Ambassador Karunatilaka Amunugama explained the progressive measures taken by the Government to establish good governance, rule of law and national reconciliation. The Ambassador further stated that the relationship between Sri Lanka and Germany runs hundred of years. The two countries celebrated 60 years of establishment of diplomatic relations last year. Sri Lankans consider Germany as one of the closest and trusted partner for their economic development.
The celebration commenced with the hoisting of the Sri Lankan national flags by Ambassador Karunatilaka Amunugama and Mayor Norbert Kopp, followed by the two national anthems performed by a children's choir from the Sri Lankan community. The attractive "Theepa Dance" performed by members of the Berlin Shri Group followed the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the dignitaries attending the event.
Following the religious observances conducted by Buddhist Monks, a Hindu Priest, a Catholic Father and a Muslim Imam, the Independence Day messages of H.E. the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Foreign Minister were read in all three languages spoken in Sri Lanka as well as German.
The cultural performances presented by the Sri Lankan children illustrated the cultural richness and the beauty and diversity of Sri Lanka, which was organized by the Sri Lanka Association in Berlin. A song appealing for peaceful togetherness of people around the world sang by Sri Lankan children impressed all participants and received admiration. Three children from the Sri Lankan community read the declaration of peace by the government of Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Peter Prügel, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Gunnar Denecke, Head of the South Asia Department, and Mr Fabian Richer, Desk Officer for Sri Lanka at the German Federal Foreign Office, also graced the occasion.
The event was concluded by a reception hosted by the Embassy, which was well received by all guests present.
Embassy of Sri Lanka, Berlin, 10/02/2015