H.E. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman visits Sri Lanka
On the invitation of Prof. G L Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, H.E. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman visited Sri Lanka from 30th October to 01st November, 2012.
The two Ministers held Bilateral Consultations on 31st October 2012.
The discussion between the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and Oman served to underline the excellent state of bilateral ties and the growing need for the intensification of economic cooperation between the two countries. Subsequently, the two Foreign Ministers signed a MOU on Bilateral Consultations between the Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman which aims to expand ties in all fields including political, economic, cultural, technological, scientific and educational relations.
Minister G.L. Peiris informed the visiting Minister that Sri Lanka’s economy has recorded over 8% growth during the past two years. He further stated that the government has initiated a number of projects to ensure the equitable distribution of the economic benefits to the people of Sri Lanka with the aim of achieving a higher threshold of incomes and better living conditions for its people.
The Omani Foreign Minister recognized the tremendous achievements made by Sri Lanka particularly after the conflict. Minister Abdullah commended the impressive economic growth recorded by Sri Lanka and the post war reconstruction efforts that are
underway. He was confident of the visionary leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in steering the country forward.
Minister Peiris acknowledged the continuous assistance and support extended to Sri Lanka by the Sultanate of Oman over the years and recalled that Sri Lanka was proud to have hosted the “Jewel of Muscat”, a replica of the 9th Century Omani trading vessel, in the Port of Galle in April 2010.He also stated that the arrival of the ship and the connected activities in fact provided an unprecedented opportunity for people-to-people contact and displayed cultural diplomacy at its highest level.
The Foreign Minister of Oman responded that they are willing to work with Sri Lanka in all areas of cooperation and to further this objective Oman intends to establish a resident Mission in Colombo in the near future.
Minister Peiris mentioned that “culture and connectivity are closely intertwined”. The 21st century is the time to reconnect the past and the present to revive the ancient links, symbolizing the goodwill and cooperation between the two countries.
Minister Peiris thanked Oman for the support extended to Sri Lanka, particularly in the regional and multilateral fora, to forge ahead with post-conflict reconciliation and rehabilitation programmes in the country.
Explaining the increase in tourist arrivals, particularly from the Middle East region, Minister Peiris suggested that the time is opportune for Omani Business Community to actively invest in infrastructure development in upgrading hotels and facilities in the tourism sector.
Minister Peiris stated that a large number of Sri Lankans employed in Oman are contributing to the development of Oman and are bringing much needed foreign exchange to Sri Lanka. He also emphasized the importance of sending more skilled workers abroad and sought the assistance of the Omani Government to provide opportunities of employment for Sri Lankans.
On Agricultural cooperation, Minister Peiris stated that Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s principle agricultural exports to Oman at present. He then invited a business delegation particularly from the Tea sector to visit Sri Lanka with a view to expand existing cooperation.
During the courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the visiting delegation extended greetings from His Majesty Sultan of Oman and reiterated Oman’s desire to work closely with Sri Lanka and to enhance economic and cultural relations including linkages with higher educational institutions.
President Rajapaksa spoke of Sri Lanka’s long standing relations with the Arab world and thanked the Sultanate of Oman for accommodating Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Oman and also took the opportunity to appreciate the support extended by the Omani Government to Sri Lanka in international and regional fora.
The visiting Omani delegation also held meetings with the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and the Minister for Petroleum Resources Development Susil Premajayantha and discussed prospects for further strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Mr. K. Amunugama, Secretary Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka , Ambassador Mohamed Al Hassan and Ambassador Saoud Al Barwany of Oman and other senior officials from the two Foreign Ministries were present at the bilateral consultations.