The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keen to strengthen bilateral relations with Sri Lanka across multiple domains, the Gulf state’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said when he met Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today in Colombo.
The UAE Minister arrived in Sri Lanka today as a part of his Asian Tour. State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake received Minister Sheikh Abdullah at the Bandaranaike International Airport.
During his visit, the UAE Minister paid courtesy calls on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and had bilateral discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Marapana.
During the meeting with the Prime Minister today, Minister Sheikh Abdullah affirmed the UAE’s keenness to strengthen relations with Sri Lanka.
The two sides discussed ways of advancing bilateral relations and reviewed issues of common interest and the latest regional and international developments of mutual concern.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe stressed Sri Lanka’s determination to boost cooperation between the two nations to a higher level, expressing his appreciation of the diverse enterprises being implemented by the UAE in Sri Lanka and the care and good treatment received by Sri Lankans living and working in the UAE.
The Sri Lankan Premier lauded the great strides made by the UAE across different domains over the past years.
Matters related to political affairs, trade and investment opportunities between Sri Lanka and the UAE and an array of regional and international issues of common concern were discussed during the bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
The Ministers agreed on several initiatives to strengthen cultural cooperation and employment prospects for Sri Lankan workers in the UAE, which will further expand the relations between the two countries.
Minister Marapana stressed Sri Lanka’s determination to boost cooperation between the two nations to a higher level, noting that Sri Lanka is paying a special attention to areas of common interest between UAE and Sri Lanka, particularly in the fields of politics, economy and food security.
The Sri Lankan Minister invited the UAE investors to invest in Sri Lanka, especially in infrastructure projects which will support Sri Lanka’s endeavors to emerge as a maritime hub in the Indian Ocean.
The two Ministers decided to hold the second round of Sri Lanka-UAE Joint Commission next year in Colombo, which will be a platform to resolve several issues related to Sri Lankan domestic workers in the UAE, and discussed areas of economic cooperation including enhanced market access to value added Sri Lankan products in the UAE.
Minister Marapana confirmed that Sri Lanka would also participate at EXPO 2020 in Dubai from 20 Oct 2020 to 10 April 2021.
The Ministers concluded a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Establishment of a Joint Committee for Consular Affairs, and an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance on Customs Matters.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake and Ambassador of the UAE to Sri Lanka Abdul Hamid Abdul Fattah Kazim Al Mulla also attended the meeting.