Lanka, B’desh to boost ties with six new deals

Saturday, 29 January 2011 00:47 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have decided to ink six agreements boosting bilateral relations between the two countries during an upcoming visit by Sri Lankan President to Dhaka.

During the first-ever foreign secretary level bilateral discussions took place in Dhaka on Wednesday (26) between Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe and his Bangladeshi counterpart Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, the two countries decided to sign agreements on investments, exports, exchange programmes, agriculture, fisheries, and education.

The six agreements are to be signed during President’s visit reportedly to take place after March this year.

The two countries have agreed to sign a deal between the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka and Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh to strengthen the bilateral trade between the two countries. Both sides have agreed that the current level of trade of about US$ 36 million is not satisfactory and needs to be strengthened further.

Although apex trade bodies of the two countries have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the relationship needs to be strengthened, Quayes has said.

According to a report on The Daily Star other agreements to be signed and implemented soon include cultural, educational, and scientific exchange programmes, a deal between Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh, deal between Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy, and agreement between Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh.

The foreign secretaries have also discussed the cooperation in various regional and multilateral forums including SAARC, BIMSTEC, IOR-ARC, UN, NAM and Commonwealth. Bangladesh has appreciated Sri Lanka’s support to establish permanent secretariat of BIMSTEC in Dhaka.

During the discussions, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary has sought support from Sri Lanka for its candidature for the non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council for 2016-17 and Sri Lanka has assured to consider the request.

The next round of foreign secretarial level discussions is to take place in Colombo next year.