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Qatar, Sri Lanka sign bilateral pacts, MoUs


COLOMBO Qatar and Sri Lanka signed a number of bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in the presence of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa following high-level official talks between the two countries held at the presidential secretariat in Colombo on Sunday.

The agreements signed include a pact on economic, trade and technical cooperation, an agreement for cultural cooperation besides an agreement on legal co-operation between the governments of Qatar and the Republic of Sri Lanka. The two governments also signed an MoU relating to the tourism sector along with an MoU on co-operation in education, higher education and scientific research as well as an MoU on civil aviation. Yet another MoU signed on the occasion seeks to set up a high-powered Qatar-Sri Lanka joint committee.

Meanwhile, Qatar Holding and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka signed an MoU on bilateral investment whereas QATARI DIAR Real Estate Investment Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.

Earlier, Qatar and Sri Lanka held official talks led by the Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka which dealt with bilateral ties between the two countries in various fields and the means of promoting them. The two sides also exchanged views on the latest regional and international developments. A number of their excellencies and members of the official delegation accompanying HH the Emir took part in the talks. On the Sri Lankan side, the session was attended by a number of ministers and senior officials. Later on, HH the Emir and the Sri Lankan President held a one-on-one meeting. HH the Emir arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday on a two-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral ties in different sectors.

On arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, HH the Emir was welcomed by President Rajapaksa and a number of Sri Lankan ministers and senior officials. Qatar's Ambassador to Sri Lanka HE Saeed bin Abdulla al Mansouri, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Qatar HE Manjusri Jayantha Palipane besides members of the diplomatic corps from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries accredited to Sri Lanka were also present to welcome HH the Emir and the delegation accompanying him.

In his speech upon arrival, HH the Emir said: "I am pleased to be visiting the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and extend on behalf of the people and the government of Qatar greetings to Sri Lanka, wishing it continuous progress and prosperity. It gives me pleasure to meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and have the chance to discuss various issues of mutual interests, means of promoting friendship and enhancing bilateral cooperation between our two countries in various fields for the welfare of our two peoples. I feel pleasure in extending my thanks to President Rajapaksa for the invitation to visit the friendly country of Sri Lanka I am sure that this visit will contribute to deepening of the cooperation between our two countries that we both aspire for." HH the Emir was accompanied by an entourage of 80 people including 30 businessmen.

Qatar has shown interest in investing in a hotel project in the islands off Kalpitiya, along the north-western coast, which were opened to tourism development projects in the past year.

Sri Lanka is looking to attract investment in the hospitality sector to draw more tourists to the country after the end of the war against Tamil separatists two-and-a-half-years back.

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