Oct 21, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has received the cabinet approval to enter into several agreements with the State of Qatar to cooperate in energy, water supply and waste management sectors and in diplomatic training and research.
The agreements are expected to be signed during President Maithripala Sirisena's official visit to Qatar later this month.
The government is of the view that since Qatar is a major country producing petroleum and natural gases in the Gulf Region, it is of paramount importance to cooperate with the rich Gulf state in accomplishing future challenges in the energy sector of Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga have jointly proposed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of Energy Sector between Sri Lanka and Qatar.
Sri Lanka and the State of Qatar have agreed to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation in the fields of water supply and waste water management.
Under this project, Qatar has come forward to extend its cooperation for the Town South of Puttalam Water Supply Project proposed to be implemented covering the Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Pallama, Arachchikattuwa, Mahakumbukkadawala and Mundalama in the District of Puttalam and the Waste Water Management Project proposed to be implemented for the coastal areas of the District of Ampara.
A proposal made by the Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Rauff Hakeem to sign the MoU during President's visit to Qatar was approved by the Cabinet.
The diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Qatar were established in 1976 and subsequently, those relations have been strengthened in various fields.
In a move to further strengthen the relations between the two countries, it has been proposed to enter into a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of Diplomatic Training and Research between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Qatar in order to jointly conduct diplomatic training, research and academic programs.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Thilak Marapana's proposal to sign the MoU during President's visit has received the approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.
President Sirisena is expected to make a two-day official visit to the State of Qatar on 25th and 26th October.
The visit will see President Sirisena holding discussions with the Qatari counterpart with a view to improving bilateral ties between the two countries.
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, who was on a South Asia tour, visited Sri Lanka briefly in March 2015 at the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena.
During the visit, the Emir of Qatar, accompanied by a high-level delegation held bilateral consultations with the Sri Lankan President.
During the discussions, the Qatari leader has pledged financial assistance to resolve the drinking water problem of the people in the north and east. The Qatar government has also expressed willingness to support the gas and oil exploration activities in Sri Lanka.