President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is on a state visit to Cuba met his Cuban counterpart President Raul Castro Saturday at the Revolutionary Hall in Havana and discussed further strengthening relations between the two countries.
At this visit, which marks a significant milestone in the five-decade long diplomatic relations between the two countries, President Rajapaksa expressed his and Sri Lanka’s appreciation to the Cuban leader and his government for extending support to Sri Lanka at the recent UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva.
President Rajapaksa was welcomed in Havana with a special military Guard of Honour.
The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen economic relations between the two countries and agreed to exchange knowledge and technology in various fields, and the opportunities to increase the volume of bilateral trade by a substantial level.
Cuba will provide nano and biotechnology expertise to develop coconut cultivation in Sri Lanka, and has also expressed willingness to provide Sri Lanka with drugs manufactured in Cuba at concessionary rates.
The two countries have agreed to increase higher education opportunities for each other's students and Cuba has also offered to provide physical education expertise for Sri Lankan athletes.
The President Rajapaksa also visited the José Martí Memorial in Havana and paid tribute to the Cuban national hero.
Ministers Wimal Weerawansa, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Mahinda Amaraweera, Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga accompanied the President.
Sri Lanka and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1959 and the ties between the two nations were further strengthened by the Non-Alliance Movement Summit held in Sri Lanka in 1976.