Sept 11, Colombo: The Speaker of Saudi Arabia's Shoura Council (Parliament), Dr. Abdullah Al- Asheikh, who is visiting Sri Lanka on an invitation from his Sri Lankan counterpart, Karu Jayasuriya, has called on President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday at the President's Office.
Meeting with the President, the Saudi Speaker has said that effective steps would be taken to establish a strong cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka parliaments.
The President has thanked Dr. Al- Asheikh for long-term assistance provided to development activities in Sri Lanka through the Saudi Fund. He has also thanked Saudi Arabia for providing assistance to Muslim Hajj pilgrims who visit Macca and made a request to increase the Hajj Quota to Sri Lanka.
The Saudi Speaker said his government has taken steps to increase the facilities available for pilgrims and the construction works would be completed next year. He added that the President's request would be seriously considered to increase the Hajj Quota to Sri Lanka.
When President Sirisena has noted that 136,000 Sri Lankans are currently employed in Saudi Arabia, Speaker Al-Asheikh said that Sri Lankan workers are very popular in his country for their efficiency and his country would take steps to offer more employment opportunities to Sri Lanka.
Dr Al-Asheikh said that the Kingdom and Sri Lanka shared a similar goal in combating terrorism which was not related to religion or race. He lauded Saudi-Sri Lankan bilateral relations which he said were growing stronger based on cooperation and friendship under the two countries' leaderships.
The Speaker said that during the visit he aimed to discuss a number of issues of common interest between the Shoura Council and the Sri Lankan Parliament.
Secretary to the President, Udaya R Seneviratne, Saudi Ambassador to Sri Lanka Abdul Nasser Al-Harthy and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake were also present on this occasion.