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* King of Bahrain felicitates Sri Lankan President with Kingdom's highest honor
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 09:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 28, Manama: King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa today felicitated the visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the prestigious Khalifa Medal, the highest honor in the Kingdom.

During the ceremony, the King of Bahrain said the medal is being presented to the Sri Lankan President and Sri Lanka in recognition of the efforts the President is "personally exerting to move with bilateral ties to a higher level of development and progress."

"We look at this visit and the recent inauguration of the Sri Lankan embassy in Bahrain as an opportunity for further cooperation between our two friendly countries," King Hamad said.

"We would also like to seize the opportunity to express our appreciation for the contribution of your kind people to the progress and prosperity of the Kingdom of Bahrain, forming an integral part of the internal social fabric, ever known for its pluralistic nature and ability to create an environment of openness and diversity that embraces all sections of society regardless of their differences," he said.

Upon receiving the medal, President Rajapaksa, who is on a two-day official visit to Bahrain said he is "humbled and honored."

President Rajapaksa said the first ever state visit of a Sri Lankan head of the state to the Kingdom is a reflection of the warmth and maturity of the relationship between the two countries.

"With Bahrain, we seek to build an enhanced dynamic partnership. The kind words, gracious hospitality and warm interactions will leave enduring and fond memories of this state visit, for me and my delegation, which undoubtedly will translate into active cooperation."

President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka's decision to open a new mission in Manama last year was based on Sri Lanka's prioritized policy to work closely with the likeminded countries in the Gulf region.

"With Bahrain, we seek to build an enhanced dynamic partnership. Several business leaders from my country have accompanied me on this visit to explore the considerable potential for the expansion of economic relations, between our two countries," the President said.

Earlier, the Sri Lankan President met with Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

During the meeting President Rajapaksa recalled Premier's successful visit to Sri Lanka in 2009, noting that its positive results have strengthened the friendly bilateral relations.

The Prime Minister commended the advanced level of Bahraini-Sri Lankan cooperation and coordination, expressing desire to enhance those ties further in order to meet the expectations of the two friendly peoples.

He affirmed that President Rajapaksa's visit to the Kingdom and his talks with King Hamad will boost bilateral relations in all fields.

Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiyutheen, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Dilan Perera, Deputy Minister of Labor and Labor Relations, Sarath Weerasekara ,Western Provincial Councilor, Nowzer Fowzie and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, and Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Bahrain Anura Rajakaruna were present for the awarding along with members from the business delegation.

(Photos By Sudath Silva)

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