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* Strengthening relationships with Africa Sri Lanka's top priorities - President
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 12:37 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 15, Nairobi: Strengthening economic relations with Africa will further consolidate the already friendly relations, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday in Nairobi.

"The foreign policy of Sri Lanka took a new direction since 2005, and we have been able to rediscover our old friendships and affinities, particularly in the African region," Sri Lankan President said.

President Rajapaksa made these comments during bilateral discussions with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta that took place at the State House in Nairobi yesterday (14).

Noting how honored Kenya is to welcome President Rajapaksa to the country - the first visit to Kenya by a Sri Lankan head of state - President Kenyatta said it is "a true testament of the enduring friendship between our two countries."

President Rajapaksa began the discussions by conveying his deepest sympathies on the terrorist attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall in September of this year and the fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport recently.

"Acts of terrorism in any form cannot be condoned with, and we as victims must seek to bring the global community together in eliminating this menace," President Rajapaksa said.

Both leaders emphasized the significance of enhancing south-south cooperation.

"I am happy that in recent years, Sri Lanka's economic partnerships with African countries have developed beyond trade and investment," President Rajapaksa said.

"South-south cooperation remains buoyant," President Kenyatta said. "With this solidarity, voices are heard and interests protected."

President Rajapaksa briefed President Kenyatta on the successful conclusion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that took place in November.

President Kenyatta commended Sri Lanka's decision to focus on equity and inclusivity in sustainable development.

President Rajapaksa also apprised the Kenyan President of Sri Lanka's post-conflict developments, including the implementation of the Recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

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