President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the Island yesterday (08) after completing a successful State visit to Indonesia. Prior to the state visit, the President attended the Indian Ocean Rim Association Leaders’ Summit at the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widoda. The visit helped strengthening the foreign relations and bringing many developmental benefits to the country.
This year’s Leaders’ Summit was held on a grand scale in parallel to celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
The world leaders during the Summit signed an agreement aimed at strengthening the cooperation between the countries in the Indian ocean.
The President also met with several heads of state and other leaders on the sideline of the IORA Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia. He held the bilateral discussions with the Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, South Africa President Jacob Zuma, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
During these meetings the President drew his special attention to further strengthen the trade and economic relations between Sri Lanka and those countries, and the leaders who met the President today assured their fullest support to Sri Lanka which move forward with new plans.
South Africa President commended the initiatives taken by the President Sirisena to establish sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. The South Africa President Jacob Zuma promised to provide every possible assistance to Sri Lanka in international affairs as well as other sectors.
During the meeting with the Australian Prime Minister, he stated that Australia has been a longstanding consistent friend to Sri Lanka and the frequent meetings between the leaders of the two countries further strengthen those relations.
The Indonesian President warmly welcomed the President Sirisena when he arrived at the Merdeka Palace, the official residence of the President of Indonesia, marking the first state visit to Indonesia by a Sri Lankan Head of State in 40 years. A colourful welcome ceremony was organized at the Merdeka Palace to welcome the Sri Lankan President and a 21 Gun Salute was accorded to the President.
“The visit will help to further strengthen close friendly relations and cooperation between our countries”, the Indonesia President said.
It was discussed in detail regarding implementing a new plan to strengthen cooperation in the field of fisheries, agriculture and tourism between the two countries and further attention was focused on implementing a programme to exchange the technical knowledge in the field of agriculture.
Their attention was also drawn to the proposal for a free trade agreement between the two countries and further discussed to look into the possibility of this through the Foreign Ministries of the two countries.
In the presence of the two leaders, two agreements on maritime and fishing cooperation and the cooperation on traditional industries were signed. State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Duleep Vedaarachchi signed on behalf Sri Lanka while the Maritime and Fisheries minister of Indonesia signed the agreement for Indonesia.