Presidents of Sri Lanka and Indonesia meet

Three bilateral MoUs signed

Indonesian President Joko Widodo says his country is ready to provide technical assistance to Sri Lanka for the development of medical equipment manufacturing, railway industry as well as for the advancement of education.

He further said that he will look into the possibilities of establishing a railway equipment manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka.

The Indonesian President made these remarks when he met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (24). President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo visited the country on a two-day state visit, in response to the invitation extended by President Sirisena.

It is significant that an Indonesian President visited Sri Lanka after of 38 years, since the former Indonesian President Sukarno’s visit to the country in 1979.

The Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the First Lady, Iriana Joko Widodo were welcomed warmly by President Maithripala Sirisena and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena when they arrived at the Presidential Secretariat. The welcome included a guard of honor and a gun salute.

Bilateral discussions were held after a cordial meeting between the two leaders.

The discussion focused on three main areas: further strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries, development of individual and institutional capacities and the enhancement of cooperation in Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions.

During this meeting, the leaders agreed to further explore the possibility of signing a Bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

During the last few years, Sri Lanka has become a welcome investment environment for entrepreneurs, and the President requested the Indonesian President to encourage Indonesian entrepreneurs to explore investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

The leaders also discussed further strengthening of the cooperation in the garment sector.

The Indonesian President paid his special attention to President Sirisena’s request of assistance to harness the maximum benefit from country’s rich ocean resources for the development of its blue economy.

The two leaders discussed cooperation between the security forces of the two countries, especially in conducting defence training and cadet exchange programmes.

“The Indonesian President’s visit to Sri Lanka is a unique opportunity for the two countries to further consolidate ties between the two countries”, President Sirisena said and expressed his gratitude for the hospitality extended to him during his visit to Indonesia in March last year.

President Sirisena thanked his Indonesian counterpart for donating 5,000 metric tons of Rice, when there was a shortage of rice due to droughts in 2017.

The two countries celebrate the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Sri Lanka this year and the two leaders evaluated the development of bilateral ties and cooperation in political, cultural, economic, trade, military, and tourism sectors during the past six and a half decades.

President Sirisena recalled that the Bandung Conference held in 1955, which paved way for building the Non-aligned movement, which laid the foundation for a new movement of solidarity among newly liberated countries.

The President who brought back memories of the strong collaboration between the two countries at fora of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

President Sirisena asked the Indonesian President to support Sri Lanka’s application for Sectoral Dialogue Partnership of ASEAN.

The President of Indonesia said that his countries expects Sri Lanka’s cooperation to enhance cooperation between the countries in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean region.

After the bilateral discussions, three Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the two countries in the presence of the two leaders. The MoUs were, nemely: MoU on Cooperation in the Fields of Higher Education, Research and Technology, MoU on Cooperation Against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic substances, and their Chemical Precursors, and MoU on Search and Rescue Cooperation.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickreremesinghe, Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Lakshman Kiriella, John Amaratunga, Tilak Marapana, Malik Samarawickrma, Mahinda Amaraweera, Sagala Ratnayaka and D.M.Swaminathan, and Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando were present during the bilateral meeting.

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