Mar 03, Colombo: Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister, who attended the 14th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar, has underscored the importance of Asian solidarity with regard to a wide range of challenges confronting the region when he held bilateral discussions with his Myanmarian counterpart Mr. Wunna Maung Lwin Sunday.
The two Foreign Ministers noted that Sri Lanka and Myanmar share common international platforms in the United Nations, the Colombo plan, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Non-Aligned Movement, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
They expressed the wish to continue working together in these fora on matters of mutual interest.
Noting that heritage of Theravada Buddhism was one of the strongest bonds the two countries share, the two ministers discussed promoting Buddhist pilgrim tourism as a means of enhancing people to people interaction in the two predominantly Buddhist countries.
The two ministers have discussed initiating direct airline connectivity to promote the tourism between Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Minister Peiris has expressed Sri Lanka's gratitude to Myanmar for the gift of an elephant tusker last year to the Bellanvila Raja Maha Vihara while the Myanmar Minister has pledged full cooperation of his country for the holding of the 150th anniversary of the Higher Ordination of the Ramanna Nikaya, to be held in Sri Lanka in June this year.
The Ministers have agreed to establish a mechanism for bilateral political consultation led by the Foreign Secretaries to improve each other's understandings of the policy perspectives of the two countries.
Minister Perris conveyed to his Myanmar counterpart the interest shown by Sri Lankan banks to open branches in Myanmar.
The two ministers have also discussed the expansion of trade and investment and in particular, the implementation of import and export procedures. To facilitate all these matters an early meeting of the Joint Commission was agreed upon.
The discussions between the two Foreign Ministers took place on the sidelines of the 14th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw.
The 14th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting precedes the 3rd Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit that will take place on March 4 with the participation of the heads of seven Asian nations- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.