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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka President meets other South Asian leaders as 16th SAARC summit begins
Wed, Apr 28, 2010, 10:52 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 28, Thimpu: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with the leaders of SAARC nations yesterday in the Bhutanese capital of Thimpu, as the 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference gets under way today.

President Rajapaksa met with the President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed and Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar Nepal on Tuesday at the Sri Lanka House in SAARC village. President Rajapaksa took the opportunity to introduce his son Namal Rajapaksa, a budding parliamentarian from Hambanthota District to the regional leaders.

The President, who is the current chairman of SAARC, has already held bilateral discussions with Bhutan's leader Jigmi Thinley on Sunday. President Rajapaksa will hand over the chairmanship of the eight-member South Asian organization to the leader of Bhutan when the heads of the state meet this morning for the Summit.

Sri Lanka President also met with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. on Tuesday at the Sri Lanka house in SAARC village. Assistant Secretary Blake is leading the U.S. observer delegation to the Summit.

President Rajapaksa is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the summit.

Later Tuesday, President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation attended a traditional archery tournament in the Thimpu National Stadium and visited the Lhakhang Temple at Dhochula.

First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weerathunge, Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, and Deputy Foreign Minister Sajin de Vas Gunawardena also accompanied the President.

From top:
President Rajapaksa introduces son Namal Rajapaksa to Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed
President with Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar Nepal and Deputy Prime Minister Sujatha Koirala
President and Sri Lankan delegation at the Thimpu national stadium
The delegation at the Lhakhang Temple (Pictures by Sudath Silva)

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