The new thrust in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, giving greater weight to relations with countries in the African continent and enhancing mutual benefit from this focus, is exceedingly welcome, said Prime Minister Philemon Yang of Cameroon when he met with Professor G.L.Peiris, Minister of External Affairs on Monday.
Minister Peiris, who was on a two day official visit to Cameroon , explained to the Prime Minister of Cameroon the eagerness of the Government to reorient the country’s diplomatic representation overseas so as to reflect emerging priorities. A wide range of shared values and largely overlapping approaches to current international issues underline the usefulness of this development, the visiting Minister said.
Prime Minister Philemon Yang expressed appreciation of Sri Lanka’s consistent positions which had been of value to Cameroon over the years.
The two countries share membership of several multilateral bodies wielding considerable influence in the international arena. For instance, both Sri Lanka and Cameroon are members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77.
Prime Minister Philemon Yang and Professor Peiris agreed that synergies characterizing the bilateral relationship lend themselves to extensive use in increasing volumes of trade and commerce as well as in strengthening political co-operation.
They recognized the need for invigorating partnership through the Non-Aligned Movement and other fora in pursuance of common goals to overcome challenges confronting developing countries.
The Prime Minister of Cameroon, indicating the importance of tourism as a pillar of Cameroon’s economy, said that his country would benefit from Sri Lanka’s expertise in hotel management and other services relevant to development of the tourism sector.
Minister Peiris responded that the Government would be delighted to assist the tourism sector in Cameroon in every possible way, and undertook to put the government agencies in the two countries in touch with one another to move forward in implementing a programme of action. Reciprocally, the experience of Cameroon with regard to wild life sanctuaries will be very useful to Sri Lanka, Prof. Peiris said.
Prime Minister Philemon Yang and Prof. Peiris also discussed co-operation in the field of information technology where significant progress had been achieved in recent years in both Sri Lanka and Cameroon.
Minister Peiris comprehensively briefed the Prime Minister about current issues in Sri Lanka after the eradication of terrorism. He explained in detail the contents of the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the government’s initiatives with regard to systematic implementation. He was interviewed on national television in Cameroon.
Prof. Peiris also had discussions with Mr. John Ngute, Acting Foreign Minister of Cameroon, prior to his departure to Congo for a series of official meetings.