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* Sri Lanka President intends to visit Saudi Arabia to strengthen relations
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 11:46 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 18, Jeddah: The government of Sri Lanka and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to focus on strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries when Sri Lanka's Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Mohamed met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in Jeddah on Sunday.

The meeting took place after Prince Saud Al-Faisal received the Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Mohammed, who presented credentials at his office.

The meeting was cordial and strengthening relations between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka was the focus, Sri Lankan Ambassador told Arab News.

He has told the Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister that Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, intends to visit the Kingdom while noting that the last time a Sri Lankan head of state visited the kingdom was some four decades ago when former Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardene visited.

The Ambassador has said that he is keen on promoting trade, tourism and investment between the two countries and appreciated the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah for the assistance given to Sri Lanka from time to time when the country needed them.

Saudi Arabia built a first-of-its-kind epilepsy and diagnosis hospital in Colombo at the cost of SR75 million. It also completed construction of a neuro-trauma hospital in the capital and built 500 houses for the islandís tsunami victims.

He said the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) gave an additional grant of SR11 million for the development of health facilities at the neuro-trauma hospital, which was built with SR40 million worth of Saudi aid to Colombo.

A bridge costing SR440 million and built with Saudi aid was opened by President Rajapaksa in Kinniya, the minister said.

The Trincomalee-Batticaloa highway was also widened with the funds allocated under the agreement. The SFD has given more than 1.2 billion Sri Lankan rupees for various projects in the island.

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