Expressing hope that Sri Lanka’s new found peace and political stability would quickly translate into beneficial gains for the country and its people, Antonio Patriota, the Minister of External Relations of Brazil who concluded a two day official visit to Sri Lanka yesterday, agreed to identify priority areas that would benefit from enhanced cooperation between the two countries.
The Brazilian Minister stated that his country, which is enjoying a period of significant economic growth and prosperity, is increasingly looking at Asia in the context of its global outreach efforts.
In order to facilitate future interaction between the Sri Lanka and Brazil, the two sides signed an Agreement on Visa Exemptions for holders of Diplomatic, Official or Service Passports. The two sides also signed an Agreement on Establishment of a Mechanism for Political Consultations, stated the Ministry of External Affairs in press release.
The Brazilian Minister participated in bilateral discussions with the Sri Lanka delegation led by his counterpart Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Prof. G.L. Peiris and the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa.
During discussions, Minister Peiris apprised the Brazilian Minister of Sri Lanka’s significant progress in the period following the end of the conflict, reconciliation efforts and the engagement with the Tamil political community.
On the economic front, Minister Basil Rajapaksa highlighted the opportunities for inward investment into Sri Lanka in a number of sectors, such as highways and transportation infrastructure, power and energy, oil exploration and ICT, among others. The Brazilian side was also invited to benefit by the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and use Sri Lanka as a value addition base for exports to the sub-continent.
Speaking on Brazil’s recent impressive socio-economic developments, the Brazilian Minister described the progress made by his country in agricultural and industrial sectors.
Brazil is sufficient in its domestic energy needs and is focusing on developing clean energy resources.
The Brazilian Minister said that his government will explore avenues such as infrastructure development, agriculture and engineering projects that could lead to human resources partnerships and exchanges with Sri Lanka.
He also expressed interest in assisting in supplementary rural income generation project in Sri Lanka through utilisation of Brazil’s experiences in this area. Brazil’s private sector can make use of opportunities presented by the improving trade and investment climate in Sri Lanka, the Minister observed. The two sides also agreed to exchange trade and business delegations in the near future.
On global and regional issues, Minister Peiris congratulated Brazil on its leadership role among developing countries and in South-South Cooperation. Sri Lanka and Brazil agreed to continue cooperation in multilateral fora, including G-15 and G-77. Minister Peiris noted Brazil’s interest in the South Asia region, and also congratulated Brazil on its active contribution to the work of the Security Council, as well as to issues related to global peace security and disarmament and non-proliferation.
During his visit, Minister Patriota also paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa recalled the recent visit to Brazil of his Special Representative Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake to attend the inauguration of the new President of Brazil, Madam Dilma Rousseff and expressed his admiration for Brazil’s successful action to eradicate poverty and inequality.