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* Sri Lankan President arrives in Maldives for bilateral talks
Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 07:46 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 25, Male: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa arrived in the Maldives this afternoon on an official visit at the invitation of Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The Sri Lankan President and First Lady were greeted on arrival at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male, by President Yameen and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim.

President Rajapaksa was given a ceremonial welcome at the airport with a 21-gun salute and a Guard of Honour by the Maldives National Defence Force.

At the welcoming ceremony, President Rajapaksa was introduced to Ministers, and other senior officials of the Maldives' Government. The members of the Sri Lankan delegation were then introduced to President Yameen.

Later the two Presidents held official bilateral talks on issues of mutual interest including trade, tourism and defense cooperation between the two countries. Discussions were also held on the regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The two sides are to sign several agreements on tourism, health, civil aviation and defense, President Yameen's office said.

The Maldivian President will also host a state banquet for President Rajapaksa and the First Lady.

After a two-day state visit in maldives, President Rajapaksa is scheduled to leave for Seychelles where he will declare open the new Sri Lankan Embassy.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Higher Education Mr. S.B. Dissanayake, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Members of Parliament Mr. A.H.M. Azwar, Mr. Lohan Ratwatte and Mr. Udith Lokubandara, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne are accompanying the President.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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