Mahinda meets Peres, Netanyahu in landmark visit to Israel

Friday, 10 January 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on his first official visit to the region, met with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Thursday (9). The leaders discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace talk, economic projects, and future cooperation between Israel and Sri Lanka, the Israeli President’s office said. “It is with friendship and appreciation and high regard that we receive you as an outstanding leader of a country that has shown the greatest of his leadership in acts not just in speeches,” Peres told Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa arrived in Jerusalem following his visit to the West Bank where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, the Embassy of Israel based in New Delhi said during his visit, President Rajapaksa met with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and held bilateral discussions on a range of issues. The discussions were mainly focused on the areas of agriculture, ICT, water management, trade and employment. Israel has agreed to provide Sri Lanka with technological assistance to expand the scope of utilising drip irrigation systems. Desalination process of sea water was another subject discussed at the talks. Information technology, trade and commerce were identified as key areas that could be developed between the two countries. President Rajapaksa expressed his gratitude to Israel for providing assistance during the 2004 tsunami disaster. On his second day of the visit, the Sri Lankan President met with the Israeli President Shimon Peres. President Rajapaksa also visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the holocaust, and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance before he signed the Official Visitors’ Book.