Aug 21, Colombo: The leaders of Sri Lanka and Seychelles Tuesday agreed on the need to form a circle of Indian Ocean island states to protect the maritime resources in the Indian Ocean that is shared by both countries.
The visiting President of Seychelles James Michel this morning met his Sri Lankan counterpart President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, and held bilateral discussions on issues of mutual interest.
During the meeting, President Michel who is on a three-day official visit to Sri Lanka has underscored the need to pool the experience and knowledge on Indian Ocean affairs and suggested to form a circle of friendship among the countries that share the Indian Ocean.
"Sri Lanka and the Seychelles share the same ocean and others should not come to exploit its resources in a manner disadvantageous to our countries," President Michel has said.
Welcoming the suggestion to form an Indian Ocean Island States, President Rajapaksa has said that the countries sharing the Indian Ocean should not let others to exploit the resources of the Ocean.
President Michel has commended his Sri Lankan counterpart for expeditiously ending a difficult and protracted war and establishing peace in the country.
"What you have done so far is remarkable and Sri Lanka's phenomenal economic growth of 8 percent is clearly a result of that," President Michel has added.
He has said that Seychelles is ready to share Sri Lanka's experience in maritime security and expressed willingness to obtain Sri Lankan expertise for boat and vessel building.
President Michel has sought Sri Lanka's assistance for the Seychelles candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council in 2017 – 2018.
President Mahinda Rajapakse has said that it is important for having the President of Seychelles to visit Sri Lanka at a time the diplomatic relations between the two countries have completed 24 years.
Following the bilateral discussions the two countries signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and an agreement in the fields of health, labor cooperation and manpower.
Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peris and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles, Jean Paul Adam signed MoU on cooperation in the field of Health.
The two countries also signed MoUs on Education and Training and on Labour Cooperation on Legal Affairs and an agreement on the Employment of Sri Lankan Manpower in Seychelles.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)