Russia and Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral relations
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, met yesterday evening in Moscow, the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev .
The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and Russia's economic assistance to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile Russia and Sri Lanka also signed a $300 million credit line for the purchase of armaments and dual-purpose technology for Sri Lanka's military, Russia's deputy finance minister said.
Dmitry Pankin said it is a 10-year loan with LIBOR plus 3.5% interest.
The arms deal will cover not only purchases but also extensive repairs of Russian military equipment previously delivered to Sri Lanka.
In the meantime it is learnt that Russia has agreed to start oil and gas exploration in the seas off Mannar after President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Russian Gas and Oil company Gazprom, Moscow yesterday. The President held talks with the Chief Executive of the company Alexei B. Miller at their head office in Moscow. The Russian company also agreed to give Sri Lanka concessions in the purchase of refined and crude oil.
At present an Indian based British oil exploration company is engaged in oil exploration in one of identified eight blocks. President Rajapaksa invited Gazprom to explore oil and gas in the other blocks at his talks with Miller, a press release of the President’s Media Division said.
Gazprom is the largest gas company in the world and supplies gas to a number of countries including 30 European nations with an annual supply of 500 million cubic metres. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was also chairman of Gazprom.
Earlier, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Shiranthi Rajapaksa participated at the Golden Jubilee Anniversary celebrations and a cultural show of the Peoples’ Friendship University, which was held at the university auditorium in Moscow at 3 PM , Sunday evening.
President Rajapaksa wasw welcomed to the ceremony by the students of the university and the Vice Chancellor Professor Vladimir M. Philipov.
The Sri Lankan President was honored once again at the cultural show by Prof. Philipov, by presenting a memento, a Russian style gold plated crown, decorated in precious stones. Later the President addressed the gathering and recalled the friendly ties between Sri Lanka and Russia.
Sri Lanka Air Force troupes performed cultural events at the cultural show.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa also participated in the opening ceremony of the “Rajatha Dekma” photo exhibition which was organized by the President’s official photographer, Sudath Silva in the university premises. Rajatha Dekma displays the photographs of Sudath Silva’s quarter century journey in his profession as an official photographer for four successive presidents of Sri Lanka.
President Rajapaksa, is today expected to be back in Colombo.
- Asian Tribune -