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* Sri Lanka, Indonesia agree to broaden economic cooperation, trade and investment
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 11:21 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka and Indonesia on Wednesday agreed to work together to expand cooperation in trade and investment and broaden economic collaboration for the benefit of the two countries.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo held bilateral discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo yesterday (24).

"Recalling the establishment of formal diplomatic relations over 65 years ago, the two Leaders expressed satisfaction on the vibrant, strong bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries, and agreed to further consolidate and expand the relations," a joint statement issued by the two leaders today said.

Both leaders welcomed the exchange of recent high-level visits between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and resolved to build up the momentum generated by these exchanges.

The two Presidents also witnessed the signing of three MoUs in the fields of Search and Rescue (SAR); Higher Education, Research and Technology; and, Cooperation against Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Chemical Precursors.

Recognizing the vibrant maritime connectivity between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two Leaders discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest pertaining to trade and investment, and reaffirmed their commitment to deepen and broaden economic collaboration. They acknowledged the need to harness the untapped potential, which exists in the bilateral economic sphere and emphasized the need for the early establishment of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment.

The two Leaders agreed that a joint feasibility study be undertaken for a possible comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement.

They exchanged views on the progress and challenges in the bilateral cooperation and agreed to bolster cooperation for the mutual benefit. President Widodo conveyed Indonesia's commitment to contribute towards Sri Lanka's development, particularly in infrastructure and connectivity.

Welcoming the enhanced partnership between the two countries, the two Leaders directed the respective Foreign Ministries to finalize the arrangements of the third session of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between Sri Lanka and Indonesia in Colombo at an early, mutually convenient date.

Acknowledging the increased number of tourists visiting each other's country, and also recognizing the historical and civilizational links between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two Presidents discussed ways and means to further increase cooperation in the tourism and aviation sectors.

Both leaders agreed to explore possibilities of capacity building in human resource development, agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, disaster management and vocational training.

Recognizing the significance of bilateral defense cooperation, the two Presidents exchanged views on training of military personnel, combating illicit drug trafficking and sharing of intelligence. They also underlined the importance of maintaining close bilateral interactions between maritime security agencies, National Anti-Narcotic agencies, and on Counter Terrorism.

The two Leaders recognized the importance of regional cooperation and integration in Asia. In this context, President Widodo encouraged Sri Lanka to enhance its engagements with ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

President Joko Widodo also met with Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe and had extensive discussions on a range of issues including investment, trade, economic cooperation and science and technology.

The two leaders acknowledged the positive outcomes of the Business Forum co-organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), which was well attended by leading investors and businesspersons from both countries and welcomed the signing of the MoU between the two Chambers.

The Indonesian business delegation comprising members of KADIN which accompanied President Widodo called on Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and discussed enhancing bilateral trade and investment.

President Joko Widodo thanked President Sirisena, Government and the people of Sri Lanka for the warm and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Lakshman Kiriella, John Amaratunga, Thilak Marapana, Malik Samarawickrama, Mahinda Amaraweera, Sagala Ratnayake, DM Swaminathan and Secretary to the President Mr. Austin Fernando were among those present at the discussions.


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