Press Releases

President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka took part in celebrations dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of Yuri A.Gagarin flight to outer space

On April 26, 2011 H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, H.E. Vladimir P. Mikhaylov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Sri Lanka, Mr. V.A.Lyakhov, Russian Cosmonaut, a number of ministers and members of Parliament were present at the ceremony of the postage-stamp cancellation specially in commemoration of the double 50th anniversary of Yuri A.Gagarin flight to outer space and his visit to Ceylon. In this connection President of Sri Lanka reminded the warmth with which Y.A.Gagarin had been welcomed on the island in 1961 and described the double jubilee in Sri Lanka as a one more evidence of the close Sri Lanka Russia friendship.

On his part the Russian Ambassador emphasized the universal importance of Y.A.Gagarin flight for the scientific and technical progress and stated that the issue of the special commemorative stamp and participation of H.E. President of Sri Lanka in the ceremony proved the high level of the bilateral relations and their truly friendly character.

The day before Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka D.M.Jayarathne, H.E.Ambassador Mr. Vladimir P. Mikhaylov, the Russian Cosmonaut V.A.Lyakhov and the director of the Russian Cultural Centre in Colombo A.A.Akhmetov visited Kandy where they installed new boards near the trees planted in 1961 by Y.A.Gagarin and in 1891 by crown prince Nikolay (future tsar Nikolay II) in Peradenia botanic garden.

In the evening of the 26th of April in one of the most prestigious hotels of Colombo the Galle Face Hotel - where Y.A.Gagarin and his spouse stayed in 1961 Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka D.M.Jayarathne and H.E. Ambassador of the Russian Federation Mr. Vladimir P. Mikhaylov unveiled the bust of the first cosmonaut made by world famous sculptor Z.Cereteli. That event, initiated by the Embassy of the Russian Federation, became the culmination of the celebrations organized in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1st space mission to outer space.

Speaking at the sculpture unveiling ceremony Hon. Prime-Minister of Sri Lanka stated that like the visit of Y.A.Gagarin to Ceylon in 1961 the present celebrations gave evidence to the traditionally firm friendship of the two countries being especially strengthened recently. Hon. Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for the support given by Russia to the Sri Lanka in her fighting against terrorism as well as for the support in the world arena nowadays.

H.E. Ambassador of the Russian Federation emphasized that launching of the 1st satellite and especially the flight of the first human to outer space merely 15 years after the end of the World War II during which the USSR had lost about 30 mln. people and as the result of the war a considerable part of the country had been destroyed, gave evidence of Russian ability to overcome difficulties and achieve goals. H.E. Ambassador also noticed that the Russian Embassy could not hold such large-scale celebrations without whole-hearted support of the Sri Lanka government and various sincere friends of Russia.

A large number of ministers, members of Parliament, public figures, representatives of the Armed Forces, science and culture of Sri Lanka were present at the ceremony.


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