Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Pays Working Visit to Sri Lanka
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov paid a working visit to Colombo on October 26. He was received by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama and met with members of public and
business circles and the media.
The sides noted with satisfaction the traditionally friendly nature of Russian-Sri Lankan relations, and the identity of our countries’ approaches to key issues on the international agenda.
The Sri Lankan side expressed gratitude to the Russian leadership for the principled stand in support of Colombo’s actions to remove the threat of terrorism and normalize the situation in the country.
The Sri Lankan President and Foreign Minister also offered gratitude for Russia’s practical assistance, including a donation through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to rehabilitate internally displaced persons, and for sending
a humanitarian aid cargo and a team of demining experts from Russia’s EMERCOM to Colombo on October 8.
The Russian side gave high marks to the Sri Lankan government’s efforts in addressing socioeconomic problems in the country’s northern areas freed from the terrorist group and in returning civilians to their places of permanent residence. Hope
was expressed for an expeditious solution to this problem.
The sides reaffirmed their intention to continue to deepen their cooperation on the antiterrorist track, bilaterally and internationally, with Sri Lanka’s involvement also in such efforts under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization as a dialogue partner.
Considerable attention was devoted to examining prospects for economic and trade ties with emphasis on more business contacts and the participation of Russian businesses in large infrastructure and energy construction projects. Mutual readiness
was stated to build up cooperation in this area.
During the visit, an Agreement between Russia and Sri Lanka on cooperation in combating the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and a Memorandum of Understanding between the emergency ministries were signed.
Readiness was voiced to soon finish drafting a number of other agreements, inter alia, on air services, on tourism cooperation, on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and on readmission.
There were also meetings with members of public and business circles and the media that demonstrated the disposition of the Sri Lankan public to develop comprehensive ties with Russia.
Sergey Lavrov invited Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to visit Russia at a time convenient to him. The invitation was accepted with gratitude. The particular date for the visit will be arranged via diplomatic channels.
October 26, 2009