The delegation at the State Council of Oman
A multi-party Parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka Karu Jayasuriya, undertook an official visit to the Sultanate of Oman from 11 to 16 March, at the invitation of State Council of Oman (Upper House of Parliament of Oman) Chairman Dr. Yahya bin Mahfoodh Al-Manthri. The visit was a significant milestone in Sri Lanka-Oman bilateral relations, as it was the highest-level political visit to the Sultanate of Oman from Sri Lanka following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1981.
The exchange of Parliamentary delegations between the two countries was initiated following the establishment of the Sri Lanka-Oman Parliamentary Friendship Association by the Parliament of Sri Lanka in August 2016, and the Shura Council (lower house of Parliament of Oman) in November 2017. Oman State Council Chairman Dr. Al-Manthri visited Sri Lanka along with a delegation in December 2017, paving the way for closer relations between the national legislatures of the two countries.
Advisor to His Majesty the Sultan His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said received the Speaker and the delegation on behalf of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, and conveyed the greetings of His Majesty to the Sri Lankan delegation. The delegation also met with State Council Chairman Dr. Yahya bin Mahfoodh Al Manthri, Shura Council Chairman Khalid bin Hilal Al Mawaly, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, and Advisor to His Majesty for Economic Planning Mohamed bin Al Zubair bin Ali.
During the meetings, relations between the two countries were reviewed. The two sides expressed their satisfaction over the cordial relations between Sri Lanka and Oman, and stressed the need for enhancing the existing relations into new areas of cooperation. Speaker Jayasuriya also highlighted the importance of early finalisation of the pending agreements, particularly the agreements on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, which would be instrumental in enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Omani dignitaries highly commended the skilled Sri Lankan workforce, employed in various sectors in Oman, for their contribution towards the development of the country. They acknowledged the importance of enhancing and expanding Oman-Sri Lanka partnership in diverse spheres, including at the legislative level, and assured of the support of the Government of Oman towards this end. During the interactions, Speaker Jayasuriya also briefed the Omani dignitaries on the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to curb the recent unfortunate incidents in the Kandy District.
Productive meetings were held with General Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development Chairman Dr. Salim Nasser Al Ismaili, and Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board Chairman Qais Mohamed Al Yousif, during which the Sri Lankan delegation discussed cooperation with the Government of Oman in the fields of agriculture and fisheries, particularly through private sector involvement. Speaker Jayasuriya and the delegation noted that the visit had opened up new vistas of cooperation in the bilateral relations, and emphasised on the value of strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. The Parliamentary delegation also expressed its interest in exploring the possibility of purchasing urea from Oman, having learned that the country has emerged as the biggest supplier of urea to South Asia in the recent past.
The Sri Lankan delegation was accorded a warm reception by the State Council of Oman and was received and seen off by State Council Chairman Dr. Yahya bin Mahfoodh Al-Manthri and a high-level delegation from the State Council. They were also hosted to an Official Dinner by State Council Chairman Dr. Al-Manthri on 12th March, while their program also included visits to Wilayat Nizwa, Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, the Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum and the National Museum.
On 16 March, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Oman, in collaboration with the Sri Lankan School, Muscat (SLSM), organised a community reception to welcome Speaker Jayasuriya and the delegation. SLSM was established in 1989 as a community school to facilitate the education of children of Sri Lankan families resident in the Sultanate. Speaker Jayasuriya and the delegation expressed their great satisfaction over the achievements of the students of SLSM.
During the visit, Speaker Jayasuriya and the delegation also visited the Embassy premises and interacted with the Embassy staff and the female migrant workers at the safe house. The delegation discussed the ways and means of assisting the stranded Sri Lankan female migrant workers, particularly those who are sent to Oman via UAE without being registered with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE).
The Parliamentary delegation accompanying Speaker Jayasuriya consisted of National Integration and Reconciliation State Minister A. H. M. Fowzie, Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Deputy Minister Faizal Cassim, and Members of Parliament Nihal Galappaththi, Seeniththamby Yoheswaran, M. H. M. Mohamed Navavi, Sanath Nishantha Perera, Imran Maharoof and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake. Speaker Jayasuriya and the delegation were joined by Ambassador M. K. Pathmanaathan in all the events.
Meeting with HE Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs.JPG