President Chandrika Bandaranaike arrived in the German capital, Berlin, yesterday on a four-day official tour. She was accorded a red carpet welcome. This is the first official visit by a Sri Lankan Head of State in twenty-seven years. Former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Germany in 1974.
President Kumaratunga is due to visit several other countries in Europe.
The President held talks with Joschke Fischer, Foreign Minister and Deputy Chancellor of the German Republic within hours of her arrival.
She is due to hold talks with President Dr. Johannes Rau and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
The main issues that will be taken up for discussion will include regional development, education, environment, tourism and bilateral agreements.
President Kumaratunga is also expected to brief the German Government on the peace process in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan President will also hold discussions with leading German investors about investment and trade opportunities in Sri Lanka.
The Government of Germany has granted assistance for several development projects in Sri Lanka such as the Randenigala and Rantambe reservoirs for the generation of hydro-electricity.
The regular influx of German tourists to Sri Lanka has also helped build closer ties between the two countries. Last year, over 77,000 German tourists arrived in Sri Lanka.
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