65th Independence Day Celebrations in Abu Dhabi, UAE by Sri Lanka Embassy and Sri Lankan expatriate community
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi celebrated 65th Independence Day of Sri Lanka at the Embassy premises on 4th February 2013 under the patronage of Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka for the United Arab Emirates.
The event started at 7.30 am with the hoisting of the national flag of Sri Lanka by the Ambassador which was followed by the recital of national anthem by the students of Friday Daham Pasala. After lighting the traditional oil lamp, Jayamangala gatha were recited by students. Next, the Independent Day messages of President, Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs were read in three languages.
The Ambassador addressed the gathering and in his speech he noted that the nation gained its first independence in 1948 from the grip of colonialism and next it obtained freedom from the clutches of brutal terrorism which agonized the entire country for almost three decades in May 2009. The Country won the war against terrorism in 2009 and now it is waging an economic war to develop the country. He appreciated the valuable contribution made by Sri Lankan expatriates who earn and remit much-required foreign exchange to the country which was large enough to pay the salaries of public sector employees and to import the total petroleum requirements in 2012.
The Independence Day morning program ended at 9.00 am with the serving of traditional Sri Lankan food by the participants.
The Diplomatic Function to mark the Sri Lankan Independence Day was held on the same day at Intercontinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi starting from 7.30 pm. The event was very well attended by the senior officers of the UAE Government, Diplomats representing many countries, officials and distinguished members of the Sri Lankan community in Abu Dhabi and other emirates of the UAE.
The Chief Guest of the event was Dr. Thariq Al Haiban, Under-Secretary (Political Affairs) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE. Several high-ranking officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Trade and International Trade also graced the occasion.
The Cocktail started at 7.00 pm at the main hall and the VIPs were ushered to the Liwa Ballroom from the adjoining Majilis (Waiting Room) by the Ambassador at 7.30 pm. Nationals anthems of the two countries were played and the Ambassador addressed the gathering thereafter. The Ambassador highlighted the fact that all Sri Lankans are proud of their President Mahinda Rajapaksa who defeated terrorism through his bold and courageous leadership and is shepherding the nation for a faster economic development. He also thanked the Government of the UAE for providing large scale job opportunities for Sri Lankans at different levels.
In addition to the above two events, functions were held to celebrate Sri Lankan Independence Day at several other places in Abu Dhabi including Hotels Le Meridien, Yas Rotana, Jumera Etihad Towers, Crown Plaza, Sheraton and Aloft by Sri Lankan community in Abu Dhabi.
- Asian Tribune -