Italy Sri Lanka Bilateral Relation

Recorded history speaks of emissaries between Sri Lanka and Rome in the 1st century. (50 A.D.) According to historian Pliny, there were four Ambassadors of King Yasalalakatissa of Anuradhapura from Sri Lanka who visited the Court of Claudius Caesar. Another delegation from Sri Lanka arrived in Rome during the time of Emperor Julian (Circa A.D. 375). This was during the reign of King Mahanama of Sri Lanka. There have been political and trade links between our two countries, dating back to several centuries. The various coins and artefacts unearthed by Archaeologists in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa provide clear evidence of the close contacts between our two countries from the earliest times.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Italy was established in 1952. Both countries are maintaining missions headed by a resident Ambassador in both capitals. There have been a number of high level visits between the two countries over the years. Bilateral relations between our two countries have been close and cordial.

Relief assistance in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster symbolizes the warm and generous goodwill Italy extends to Sri Lanka. Italy has been particularly forthcoming in Sri Lanka’s times of need. Almost 50 million Euros were provided as Tsunami relief and reconstruction assistance following the December 2004 tsunami. Italian funds financed 48 critical projects in Sri Lanka and the Italian Government flights were among the first to land at the Katunayake Airport within 24 hours of the Tsunami striking Sri Lanka.

The varied nature of existing bilateral agreements is indicative of the vibrancy of the relationship between Italy and Sri Lanka. The agreements signed as of present include, among others:


  • Air Services Agreement signed in 1959 and subsequent commercial arrangement revisions

  • Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement signed in 1987

  • Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation signed in 1984 and concluded in 1990

  • Agreement for Cultural, Scientific and Technological Cooperation

  • Memorandum to amend the 1873 Extradition Treaty dated August 1999

  • Exchange of Notes on Anchorage

  • Exchange of Notes for the Re-admission of illegal immigrants

  • Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation on Labour Migration was signed in October 2011
  • Bi-lateral Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Driving Licences between Italy and Sri Lanka was signed in 2011 Extended with entry into force on 04.03.2017