June 17, La Paz: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who travelled to Bolivia to attend the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 and China (G77 + China), held bilateral talks with Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday (June 16) at the Presidential Palace in the city of La Paz.
During the discussion, President Morales expressed his willingness to work closely with Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan President agreed to strengthen the ties with the South American country.
President Rajapaksa said his visit to Bolivia is a new beginning in diplomatic, economic and trade relations with South American nations and establishing relationships with new nations is a part of the Sri Lankan Government's policy.
President Morales inquired about Sri Lanka's political, economic, industrial, export and import sectors and showed particular interest in Sri Lanka's apparel sector. He asked President Rajapaksa whether Sri Lanka could assist Bolivia in developing its apparel sector and whether a team of experts could be sent to Bolivia for this purpose. President Rajapaksa readily agreed.
President Morales also inquired about the possibility of importing Sri Lankan cinnamon to Bolivia and expressed Bolivia's interest in learning from Sri Lanka's experiences in the hydropower sector.
Sri Lankan President has invited his Bolivian counterpart to visit Sri Lanka and Morales has accepted President Rajapaksa's invitation.
Briefing the Bolivian President of the progress Sri Lanka has achieved after the defeat of terrorism, President Rajapaksa said this progress is being disregarded and human rights are being used as a weapon to exert external pressure on the country. President Morales said Bolivia has also faced these types of problems in the past and continues to face such issues.
Following the conclusion of bilateral talks, President Morales hosted a colorful ceremony with military honors for President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Palace.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne and Presidential Advisor on Cinema Development Ravindra Randeniya made up the Sri Lankan delegation.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)