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* Sri Lankan President to visit Israel and Palestine next month
Sun, Dec 29, 2013, 11:33 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 29, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by a top delegation will leave for Israel and Palestine on an official visit in January.

During his four-day visit the President will spend two days in Israel and two days in Palestine, the state-run radio reported.

During his visit the President is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas, President's spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake has confirmed.

The Sri Lankan delegation is expected to hold discussions with the representatives of each country on strengthening bilateral relations in the agriculture, tourism, trade and employment sectors.

A high-level business delegation from Israel visited Sri Lanka in September this year and a bilateral trade agreement was signed between the two countries. Israeli investors had expressed interest in hydro-power generation, tourism, information technology and developing the dairy and agriculture sector.

Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Israel were renewed in 2000 and the two countries collaborate closely on the defence front. Sri Lankan military is a major user of Israeli weapons systems that include the Kfir fighter jets and Dvora patrol vessels.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas visited Sri Lanka in April this year and during his visit to the island, the two countries signed two agreements for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

Sri Lanka has supported the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and their right to an independent state.

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