Sri Lanka’s relations with Bahrain receive major boost
Saturday, 3 May 2014 00:03
Joint statement issued following successful state visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Sri Lanka and Bahrain have agreed to further broaden and deepen their bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest. This outcome was reached at the official talks that
President Mahinda Rajapaksa held with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, during his State visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain from 28-30 April, the first State visit to Bahrain by a Head of State of Sri Lanka.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of enhancing high-level political exchanges, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages.
President Rajapaksa was accorded a ceremonial welcome on arrival in the capital, Manama on 28 April and hosted to an official banquet in his honour by the King of Bahrain, which was preceded by official discussions.
On the same day, President Rajapaksa was awarded the prestigious Order of Al-Khalifa Medal, the highest State honour in the Kingdom of Bahrain. During the ceremony, the King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said the medal was being presented to President Rajapaksa “in appreciation of your Excellency and your friendly country, and in recognition of the efforts you are personally exerting to move with bilateral ties to a higher level of development and progress.”
The Order of Al-Khalifa was founded in 1940 and revived in the 1970s. The medal honours the dedication of the late Amir Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa to humanitarianism. Upon receiving the medal, President Rajapaksa said: “I am humbled and honoured,” and added: “With Bahrain, we seek to build an enhanced dynamic partnership. The kind words, gracious hospitality and warm interactions will leave enduring and fond memories of this state visit, for me and my delegation, which undoubtedly will translate into active cooperation.”
Other bilateral engagements included a meeting with the Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. During the official meetings, the two sides underlined their close bilateral ties, entrenched in their shared history and rich cultures, sustained by the growing economic linkages and close people-to-people contacts. The wide-ranging discussions were held in a sincere, friendly and forward-looking atmosphere with a useful exchange of views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
President Rajapaksa was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris, high ranking senior government officials and business leaders from Sri Lanka.
Following is the joint statement issued by Sri Lanka and Bahrain following the state visit of President Rajapaksa to Manama early this week:
At the invitation of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, paid his first state visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain from 28-30 April, 2014. This is the very first State Visit to Bahrain by a Head of State of Sri Lanka. His Excellency the President was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising of Ministers including Hon. Professor Gamini Lakshman Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, high ranking senior government officials and business leaders from Sri Lanka. His Excellency was received by a ceremonial welcome on the 28th of April, 2014. His Majesty the King of Bahrain hosted an official banquet in honour of His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka which has been preceded by official discussions. His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa was accorded the prestigious Order of AlKhalifa in recognition of his efforts to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Other bilateral engagements included a meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister.
During the official meetings, the two sides underlined their close bilateral ties, entrenched in their shared history and rich cultures, sustained by the growing economic linkages and close people-to-people contacts. The wide-ranging discussions were held in a sincere, friendly and forward-looking atmosphere with a useful exchange of views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
The two sides agreed to further broaden and deepen their bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest. They agreed on the importance of enhancing high-level political exchanges, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the status of the bilateral relations and expressed the hope that such exchanges would be further intensified with the aim to give impetus to the existing cordial ties.
The two sides expressed their satisfaction at the regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits over the recent years. Bilateral ties tightened following the official visit of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain to Sri Lanka during the period from 28 to 30 July 2009. The two sides also welcomed the positive outcomes of the visit of Hon. Mr. Neomal Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the opening of the Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in Manama on the 30th of May 2013 and his visit to participate in the 12th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue held in Manama on 25 November 2013. The two sides also praised the visit of H.E. Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance to Sri Lanka in June 2011 and the visit made by a delegation of the Bahraini House of Representatives to Sri Lanka in April 2013.
The two sides recognized the need to hold regular consultations between their Foreign Ministries. Thus, they referred to the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultations signed between the two Foreign Ministries in 2009 and decided that the next round of such consultations would be held in the first half of 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The two sides stressed the importance of increasing the defence and security cooperation between the two countries. It was also decided to strengthen the sharing of information and assessments. The two sides denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and reaffirmed their desire to strengthen their cooperation in combating terrorism at both the bilateral level and within the multilateral system of ACD, Non-Aligned Movement and the UN.
In the field of economic cooperation, the two sides recognized the potential for greater trade and commercial exchanges, and agreed to take the steps necessary to provide a greater impetus to bilateral trade turnover. The Bahraini side welcomed the high-level business delegation accompanying H.E the President.
The two sides noted the potential for increased mutual investments and agreed to provide a favourable environment for investors from both countries. The two sides agreed on the need for a regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. The Sri Lankan side recognized Bahrain as an ideal gateway to the GCC markets.
The two sides informed each other of their infrastructure development plans and highlighted the importance of strengthening cooperation in the fields of investment, education, sports, culture and tourism.
The two sides agreed that the high-level negotiations in Manama as well as the Memoranda of Understanding that have been signed during this visit have opened a new page in the history of relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and given impetus to develop trade and investment relations, educational, sport, cultural and art cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in the Middle East and Central Asia. The two sides reiterated the importance of peaceful resolution of all issues, whether regional or global, through dialogue.
The two sides acknowledged the close relations between Sri Lanka and the GCC countries and reiterated their commitment to further strengthening cooperation between these countries.
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa the President of Sri Lanka thanked His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for the warm and gracious hospitality extended to the Sri Lankan delegation, noting that this was a clear reflection of the strong longstanding bonds of friendship shared by the two countries. His Excellency the President extended an invitation to His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness the Prime Minister and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince to visit the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at a mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted.