Jan 05, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Jordan's King Abdulla II on Sunday at the Royal Hashemite Court in Amman and held discussions on enhancing the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Following a warm welcome for President Rajapaksa, the two leaders held discussions on a number of topics relevant to both countries, including cooperation in defense-related activities and progress of the Joint Committee that was established after the signing of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2007.
President Rajapaksa also requested King Abdulla II to consider a duty concession for the tea that Jordan imports from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is currently the largest supplier of tea to Jordan. Ceylon tea is one of Sri Lanka's major exports to this Middle Eastern nation, contributing about 80 percent of Sri Lanka's total exports to Jordan, which re-exports some of this tea to places such as Iraq and Palestine.
Discussing other areas of potential collaboration, King Abdulla II briefed President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation of an open-source-software-supported telemedicine project that Jordan is launching. Noting that Sri Lanka, too, could benefit from similar strategies, the Jordanian King invited the Sri Lankan delegation to visit the project in Jordan.
The two leaders strongly agreed to collaborate on multilateral issues, and President Rajapaksa invited King Abdulla II to visit Sri Lanka, which he said he looks forward to doing in the near future.
This is the third time the President and King Abdulla II met. The last time President Rajapaksa was in Jordan was in 2009 when he attended the G-11 Summit on an invitation extended by the King. Prior to that, the President and King Abdulla II met in 2007, again during the G-11 Summit. During that meeting, the two countries signed an agreement on cultural promotion.
Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Jordan was established in 1965, and the resident mission of Sri Lanka in Amman began in 1996. The Embassy of Jordan in New Delhi is accredited to Sri Lanka.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Parliamentarians Ms. Kamala Ranatunga, Roshan Ranasinghe, and John Amaratunga, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Jordan Gamini Rajapakse were also present at the bilateral discussions.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)