(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Fazeena Saleem | The Peninsula
DOHA: Sri Lankan community in Qatar yesterday celebrated their country's 70th Independence Day with traditional zeal and fervour.
Despite the cold weather, many Sri Lankans turned up at the Sri Lankan embassy in the Old Airport area for a flag-hoisting ceremony. ASP Liyanage, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Qatar, hoisted Sri Lanka's national flag as the national anthem was sung.
Two-minute silence was observed in remembrance and honour of freedom fighters of Sri Lanka. Also, religious observances were performed.
The message of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was read out. It said: 'As Sri Lanka celebrates seven decades of independence, it is appropriate to reflect on how far we have come as a nation. In terms of achieving human development and various social, economic and political challenges we were faced with, the progress we have achieved over this period is laudable.
'We must also remember that true freedom does not compromise only political freedom. Our independence is not complete until economic and cultural freedom is achieved. In our journey towards economic freedom, this is a crucial one. As a country, our future lie in our commitment to achieve long term goals with firm determination, as we have done in the past.
The messages of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, also were read out.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Liyanage said: 'You all have been here for the past years or decades. You have not only benefitted from this country, you all also have been great contributors to foreign exchange for our motherland. We are also thankful to the government of Qatar for providing opportunities to Sri Lankans to be part of their development and progress.
'The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Qatar is committed to provide all assistance and support for the betterment of our Sri Lankans living here according to all applicable rules and regulations of the law of this country, he added. The importance of bilateral ties between Qatar and Sri Lanka as well as the recent steps taken to enhance bilateral relations in trade, economy and other areas were highlighted during the event.