Apr 28, Manama: Sri Lanka and Bahrain today signed three Memorandums of Understanding on sports, culture and arts, and another between the University of Colombo and the University of Bahrain.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was received at the Al-Sakhir Palace by the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Kalifa and other high-level Bahraini officials.
During bilateral discussions, the two leaders discussed a number of matters of mutual interest while also expressing the mutual support of the two countries in the international arena.
They reviewed ways of bolstering bilateral ties and joint cooperation in the economic, trade, investment, tourism and cultural fields, and also discussed a number of regional and global issues of mutual concern.
King Hamad affirmed Bahrain's keenness on enhancing its friendly ties with Sri Lanka and opening up new horizons of bilateral cooperation in various fields for the common benefits of the two peoples.
The first MoU, related to cooperation between the Bahrain's General Organization for Youth and Sport (GOYS) and the Sri Lankan Sports Ministry, and was signed by the Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport and President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, on behalf of GOYS, and the External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris on behalf of Sri Lanka.
Another MoU on cooperation in the cultural and artistic fields was signed by Minister Peiris and Bahraini Education Minister Dr. Majid bin Ali Al Nuaimi.
The two ministers also signed another MoU on behalf of the University of Bahrain and the University of Colombo on enhancing cooperation in the educational field.
King Hamad hosted a lunch banquet in Honour of the Sri Lankan President and his accompanying delegation.
Sri Lanka and Bahrain established formal diplomatic relations in 1992 and a new Sri Lankan mission was established in the capital Manama in February 2013.
In 2009, Sri Lanka hosted the Prime Minister on a two-day visit during which the Prime Minister donated $1 million to reconstruction work in the North.
Economically, trade between Sri Lanka and Bahrain has seen an increase from US$ 7.3 million in 2003 to US$ 34.9 million in 2013.
The Sri Lankan delegation at the bilateral discussions included Ministers Prof. G. L. Peiris, Rishad Bathiyutheen, Dilan Perera, Deputy Minister Sarath Weerasekara, Provincial Council Member Nauzer Fowzi, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, and Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Bahrain Anura Rajakaruna.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)