Colombo, August 23 (newsin.asia): India and Sri Lanka have discussed the possibility of the early convening of the Indo-Lanka Joint Commission and also the setting up of Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka.
The India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission had last met in 2016.
When the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on the new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L.Peiris, it was agreed that the six Working Groups under the Joint Commission, covering specific subject areas under education, science & technology, tourism, trade & investment, fisheries and the power sector, should meet at the earliest feasible opportunity.
The discussion also centered on enhancing religious tourism. The Lankan Foreign Minister appreciated the offer of US$ 15 million by the Government of India to preserve and promote Buddhist cultural sites in Sri Lanka and expressed interest in early implementation of the offer.
Matters relating to fisheries were also discussed and both sides agreed to search for a meaningful, pragmatic solution to the issues. Indian assistance to develop fisheries harbors in Sri Lanka was greatly appreciated by Prof.Peiris.
Minister Peiris thanked the Government of India for supplying emergency consignments of liquid oxygen from east Indian ports, even by using Indian naval ships.
Both parties highlighted the pivotal importance of relations between Sri Lanka and India which have stood the test of time as close neighbors and expressed satisfaction at the current level of cooperation and resolved to raise bilateral relations in multiple sectors to even higher levels.
Prof.Peiris had assumed charge as Foreign Minister last Wednesday. On Friday, Ambassadors of key countries met him to discuss bilateral issues.
In his meeting with Chinese Ambassador, Qi Zhenhonon Friday, Foreign Minister Peiris requested China’s assistance for the immediate supply of liquid oxygen to meet the increasing demand.
Ambassador Zhenhong reiterated China’s continued commitment to assist the socio-economic development in Sri Lanka as well as the COVID-19 mitigating efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka. The discussions centered on COVID-19 cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, economic development, poverty eradication and multilateral cooperation. In particular,
At the meeting with the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz on Friday, Foreign Minister Peiris thanked the United States for the assistance extended to combat COVID-19 pandemic and to mitigate the environmental and socio-economic impact of the MV X-Press Pearl disaster and sought further cooperation.
Peiris welcomed the recent tripartite Letter of Cooperation between the Sri Lankan Export Development Board, the USAID and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce under the PARTNER program to offer training for Development Officers of the EDB. He also welcomed private sector investments from the United States in Sri Lanka.
Other bilateral matters, including convening of US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue, Joint Commission of Trade & Investment Framework Agreement and US- Sri Lanka Sectoral Dialogues were also discussed in detail.
Ambassador of Japan Akira Sugiyama told the Lankan Foreign Minister that Japan is committed to completing all ongoing development projects on time, and accelerating the implementation of impending projects despite challenges posed by the pandemic.
Minister Peiris thanked the Government and the people of Japan for extending steadfast support to Sri Lanka at its all-difficult times. The 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines recently donated to Sri Lanka by Japan were immensely useful to conduct an uninterrupted vaccination program in the Western province in Sri Lanka, Peiris said.
Recalling Mr. Yasushi Akashi’s valuable contribution during the peace negotiations as a special envoy of the Government of Japan, Minister Peiris thanked Japan for understanding the ground realities in the country and its mediatory role in the international fora to find permanent solutions for the reconciliation and human rights issue in Sri Lanka.
While agreeing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year in a fitting manner, Foreign Minister Peiris and Ambassador Sugiyama agreed to work tirelessly to enhance trade, investment, and people-to-people contacts between the two countries to a further height.
The Ambassador of the Russian Federation Yuri B. Materiy in his meeting with Peiris reiterated Russia’s interest in further expanding bilateral relations in multiple sectors including trade, investment and tourism, energy, science and technology, defense and counter-terrorism.
The meeting entailed reference to upcoming political consultations between the two Foreign Ministries; convening of the intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation; and commemoration of the 65th anniversary of Sri Lanka–Russia diplomatic relations in 2022.
Foreign Minister Peiris underscored the importance of Sri Lanka’s longstanding friendship and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia, and expressed appreciation for Russia’s support to Sri Lanka on issues of principle and relevance in multilateral fora.
In his meeting with the Ambassador of the European Union Delegation Denis Chaibi, EU support to Sri Lanka in addressing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic were discussed. Foreign Minister Peiris expressed his sincere appreciation for the EU’s contribution to the COVAX facility in supporting global vaccine equity and research.
EU Ambassador Chaibi apprised Peiris on EU support and collaboration in the aftermath of the X-Press Pearl marine environmental disaster off the coast of Sri Lanka, as well as in enhancing Sri Lanka’s disaster preparedness in the future.
Sri Lanka’s regular engagement within the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission framework, as well as constructive cooperation existing under the EU GSP Plus monitoring process, including action underway by the Government on issues of relevance, were also discussed. Reference was made in this regard to upcoming EU missions to Sri Lanka, and to the convening of relevant working groups under the Joint Commission umbrella.
Foreign Minister Peiris reiterated the significance of EU-Sri Lanka trade relations which continue to be mutually beneficial with potential for further expansion. Matters related to cooperation in the fishery sector were also discussed.