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* Sri Lanka, Bahrain to boost defense, trade, economic ties
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 06:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 30, Manama: Sri Lanka and Bahrain, expressing satisfaction at the present status of the bilateral relations, have agreed to further broaden and deepen their bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest.

Issuing a joint communiqué at the end of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's state visit to Manama, the two countries agreed on the importance of enhancing high-level political exchanges, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages.

Sri Lankan President accompanied by a high-level delegation paid his first state visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain from 28-30 April, 2014. The visit was the very first State Visit to Bahrain by a Head of State of Sri Lanka.

During his visit Sri Lankan President held discussions with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

During the official meetings, while underlining their close bilateral ties and expressing their satisfaction at the regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits over the recent years, the two sides recognized the need to hold regular consultations between their Foreign Ministries.

Accordingly, they referred to the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultations signed between the two Foreign Ministries in 2009 and decided that the next round of such consultations would be held in the first half of 2015 in Colombo.

During discussions, both countries agreed on the importance of increasing the defence and security cooperation between the two countries and decided to strengthen the sharing of information and assessments.

The two sides denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and reaffirmed their desire to strengthen their cooperation in combating terrorism at both the bilateral level and within the multilateral system of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Non-Aligned Movement and the UN, the communiqué said.

In the field of economic cooperation, the two sides recognized the potential for greater trade and commercial exchanges, and agreed to take the steps necessary to provide a greater impetus to bilateral trade turnover.

The two countries Tuesday inaugurated the Bahrain-Sri Lanka Business Forum to promote tourism, trade and investment between them. The Bahraini side welcomed the high-level business delegation accompanying the President. Sri Lanka recognizes Bahrain as an ideal gateway to the markets in rich Gulf countries.

The two sides noted the potential for increased mutual investments and agreed to provide a favorable environment for investors from both countries. The two sides agreed on the need for a regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities and stressed on strengthening cooperation in the fields of investment, education, sports, culture and tourism.

The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in the Middle East and Central Asia. The two sides reiterated the importance of peaceful resolution of all issues, whether regional or global, through dialogue, the joint communiqué said.

At the end of his visit, Sri Lankan President has extended an invitation to King Hamad, Prime Minister and the Crown Prince to visit Sri Lanka at a mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted.

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