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* Sri Lankan President arrives in Jordan on a state visit
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 10:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 04, Amman: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa arrived in Amman, Jordan, Saturday on a two-day state visit.

The President and First Lady were welcomed by the Acting Secretary-General of Jordan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mohammad Taisir and the Director of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Zuhair Ensouk along with members of the Sri Lankan community living in Jordan.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

During the visit, President Rajapaksa will meet with the Jordan's King Abdullah II and the two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral and economic relations between the two countries.

Sri Lanka and Jordan already share strong economic relations with Ceylon tea as one of Sri Lanka's major exports to Jordan. Sri Lanka is the largest supplier of tea to Jordan, and tea contributes about 80 percent of Sri Lanka's total exports to the Middle Eastern nation. Other products exported to Jordan include coconuts and cashew nuts, among others.

Following this visit, President Rajapaksa will visit Palestine and Israel spending two days in each country.

During his visit to Palestine, the President will hold bilateral discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

While in Palestine, President Rajapaksa is also expected to lay a wreath at the mausoleum of former President Yasser Arafat, meet with members of the Sri Lanka Palestine Friendship Association and visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

In his two-day state visit to Israel, President Rajapaksa is expected to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

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.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Parliamentarians Mrs. Kamala Ranatunga, Roshan Ranasinghe, and John Amaratunga, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Jordan Gamini Rajapakse are a part of the delegation accompanying the President.

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