Finnish FM here on two day visit 
[February 07, 2005 -09.00 GMT] 

The Foreign Minister of Finland Erkki Tuomioja currently in the island on a two-day visit met with Sri Lankan FM Lakshman Kadirgamar yesterday. This is the first ever visit to Sri Lanka by a Finnish Foreign Minister.

FM Kadirgamar thanked Finland for the assistance it had already given to Sri Lanka after the tsunami disaster, and briefed the visiting Minister on the post-tsunami reconstruction efforts that are currently underway. 

Noting Finlandís long standing assistance to Sri Lanka specially in upgrading the Colombo General Hospital, Minister Kadirgamar suggested that Finland could consider the construction of hospitals for the rural communities as party of their post-tsunami assistance. He explained that sectors that required attention were housing, trauma counseling and providing care for the affected children.

The Sri Lankan FM also explained the Government would welcome the donor countries to identify the specific projects they wanted to contribute to, and carry out the projects themselves with their funds and experts, while making use of local labour.

The visiting FM while conveying his condolences to Sri Lanka for the disaster that affected many and thanked the government and people for helping Finnish citizens who were in the affected areas and brought to safety. He said Finland was keen to allocate funds for the long-term reconstruction efforts and mentioned that approximately 20 million euro had been collected from private orgnizations and individuals in Finland. Minister Tuomioja said Finland would be interested in expanding on the bilateral assistance already provided to Sri Lanka in the form of water supply and treatment and the modernization of hospitals.

It was decided during discussions that bilateral relations could be further strengthened and improved and that there should be an expansion of trade between the two countries. The Finnish FM said Sri Lanka was a favourite holiday destination for Finnish tourists and indicated that they would soon start coming back to Sri Lanka.








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Last Updated Date: February 07, 2005 - 09.00 GMT


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