The focus in the bilateral discussions, which took place on Wednesday between External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris and Mr. K. Shanmugam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore at the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo was on the expanded trade and economic relationship between the two countries.
The Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and Singapore discussed a range of measures which will be helpful in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting investment co-operation, signed between the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and the Singapore Business Federation in February.
The two Ministers noted that, consequent on the visit to Marina Bay during the State Visit in February, a team from the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development was already in touch with the authorities in Singapore with regard to co-operation between the two countries in the field of water resources management.
Minister Shunmugam expressed satisfaction with the proceedings of the Singapore Business Forum. He agreed with his Sri Lankan counterpart that circumstances in Sri Lanka at this time are conducive to a significant expansion of trade and investment, especially in such areas as tourism infrastructure and services, and said that the government of Singapore will be happy to assist in strengthening relations between the business communities in the two countries.
Recognizing the increase of Singaporean investments into Sri Lanka in real estate development and infrastructure, the two Ministers noted with satisfaction the initiative by Mustafa’s of Singapore, the internationally famous retailers, to invest 144 million U.S. dollars in a hotel and shopping complex in Sri Lanka.
Information communication technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals were identified as priority fields for collaboration.
While the government of Singapore is already providing training opportunities for Sri Lankan public officials, the Ministers agreed to take concrete measures to strengthen these programmes.
They considered it timely to increase co-operation between strategic studies institutes of the two countries. Prof. Peiris made a proposal to link the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies in Sri Lanka.
Minister Peiris gave the visiting Singaporean Minister a comprehensive briefing about action being taken by the government of Sri Lanka to move the country forward rapidly in the fields of development and reconciliation. He thanked the Singapore government for the assistance given in refurbishing the children’s section of the Jaffna Library and in training its librarians. He said that the visit of the Singapore Foreign Minister to Trincomalee and Jaffna will provide him with the opportunity to observe at first hand the scale of progress in these parts of the country.