Oct 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka for the very first time held Foreign Ministry level virtual bilateral consultations with Algeria on Tuesday focusing on strengthening political, economic, social and cultural ties.
In keeping with the Government policy of further expanding ties with the African Region, closer engagement with Algeria which is the lead economy in North Africa is envisaged, the Foreign Ministry said.
The two sides noted that the total trade last year stood USD 5.39 million and Sri Lanka’s exports to Algeria amounted to only USD 630,000 while Sri Lanka’s imports from Algeria amounted to USD 4.76 million.
As a major exporter of petroleum and LP gas, the trade relations with Algeria have mainly been in the energy sector. However, potential to further increase exports particularly tea, spices, coconut products and apparel were explored. A virtual meeting with the Chambers of Commerce of both countries is expected to take this process forward.
Recalling the long standing bilateral relations, the two sides agreed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in a fitting manner next year. Algeria announced that it will host the next NAM Summit in Algiers in 2022 and recalled that both countries are founding members of the Non Aligned Movement and continue to work closely at the multilateral level.
The two countries expressed keen interest to focus bilateral cooperation in the environment and climate change, power & energy and tourism sectors. Further strengthening defense and counter terrorism cooperation were also discussed.
The Sri Lanka Delegation was led by Director General Africa Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry B. Kandeepan and the Algeria delegation was led by Director General of the Asia Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria Boumedien Guennad. The Ambassador of Sri Lanka accredited to Algeria from Cairo, the Ambassador of Algeria accredited to Sri Lanka from New Delhi and senior officials of both Foreign Ministries joined the virtual consultations.