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* Sri Lankan President arrives in Myanmar to attend BIMSTEC Summit
Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 08:43 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 03, Nay Pyi Taw: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at Myanmar's Nay Pyi Taw International Airport Monday afternoon to participate in the BIMSTEC Summit.

The President was received at the airport by Myanmar's Minister of Labor, U Aye Mint, Deputy Foreign Ministers U Tin Oo Lwin and U Thant Kyaw, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Myanmar H.R. Piyasiri and Myanmar's Ambassador in Sri Lanka U Min Thein Zan, President's Media release said.

Sri Lanka's Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne, who are already in Myanmar to participate in the ministerial level meetings of the BIMSTEC Summit, were also present.

The Sri Lankan delegation headed by the President will be hosted by President of Myanmar U Thein Sein to a state banquet tonight at the Myanmar International Conference Center.

President Rajapaksa will address the third BIMSTEC Summit tomorrow (March 04).

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional grouping of seven South and South East Asian countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The seven-country forum aims at maintaining and promoting beneficial cooperation among members, especially in identified priority sectors such as trade and investment, technology, energy, tourism and agriculture. The grouping aims to achieve its own free trade area by 2017.

Sri Lanka has been associated with BIMSTEC from its inception and is the lead country for the technology sector. As agreed at the second Summit in New Delhi, Sri Lanka is now working to set up a BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in the country.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who will attend the 3rd BIMSTEC Summit on 4th March will hold talks with Sri Lankan President on the sidelines of the Summit, India's Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh announced last week.

The Indian Premier will be meeting the Sri Lankan leader for the first time after skipping last year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Colombo in November after bowing to the pressure from the Tamil Nadu political leaders.

Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga also accompanied the President for the visit.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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