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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 83

Bahrain Prime Minister arrives in Sri Lanka today

[caption id="attachment_3132" align="alignright" width="460" caption="Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa"]Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa[/caption]

Colombo, 28 July, ( On the invitation of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain will be on an official visit to Sri Lanka from 28-30 July 2009.The visiting Prime Minister of Bahrain will hold bilateral talks with Sri Lanka President. The talks expected to cover a wide range of issues including expanding the economic cooperation between the two countries.

This is the first high level visit to Sri Lanka from Bahrain after a lapse of 33 years. The late Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the Amir of Kingdom of Bahrain, visited Sri Lanka for the Non Aligned Summit Conference in 1976.The Bahrain –Sri Lanka diplomatic relations, formalized in 1992, continued to expand into practical cooperation on labour matters as well as on matters of mutual interest in regional and international forums. It is expected that the high level visit will further enrich and expand Sri Lanka’s friendly relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Bahrain is one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East with a high per capita income. In the recent past, many countries have shown interest in strengthening economic relations with Bahrain. Following the restoration of peace in the North and East of Sri Lanka with the end of terrorism, Sri Lanka is seeking assistance from friendly countries for the reconstruction of North and the other less-developed areas. The Government of Sri Lanka hopes that such assistance will help boost the country’s economy and national development.

According to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, “Sri Lanka’s main focus during the visit will be to attract Bahrain – based companies to invest in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. There are a number of investment opportunities which have opened up in Sri Lanka in recent times. “

During the high level visit, it is expected that Sri Lanka and Bahrain is expected to enter into bilateral agreements on Tourism Cooperation, Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation and Expansion of Relations between the Trade Chambers of Sri Lanka and Bahrain will be signed by the two Foreign Ministries.

The MOU on “Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation” and the MOU on “Tourism Cooperation” are aimed at enabling the two sides to explore further opportunities in a range of fields beneficial to the people. Sri Lanka is also expecting to sign Agreements on Investment Promotion and Protection and on Double Taxation in the next phase of its bilateral engagement with Bahrain.

Sri Lanka’s Labour relations with Bahrain remain significant. Bahrain continues to provide a conductive environment for around 15,000 Sri Lankan workers to work peacefully in the Kingdom. These Sri Lankan expatriates contribute to the economy of the Kingdom and have built strong bridges between the two countries. Sri Lanka is interested in sending qualified nurses as well as skilled workers to the Kingdom in the future, especially in the hospitality, finance and petroleum sectors under the new “Manpower and Occupational Training Agreement” signed with Bahrain in January, 2008.

In manifestation of the friendly relations that exist between the two countries, the Government of Bahrain voted in favour of Sri Lanka at the 11th Special Session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on 26th May 2009.

The ceremony to sign MOUs will follow the Bilateral Talks at the Presidential Secretariat.

The visiting Bahrain Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, while the Minister of Commerce and Industry, who accompanies the Prime Minister will meet with the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Enterprise Development separately.

The Chamber of Commerce of both countries are expected to sign MOUs with a view to expanding bilateral trade and establishing a Joint Business Council.

- Asian Tribune -

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