President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the country early today after completing successful state visits in Tanzania and Seychelles.
Not only were these President Rajapaksa's first visits to both countries, but also the first visit of any Sri Lankan president. It was part of President's vision to further strengthening South – South cooperation.
During his three-day state visit in Tanzania, President Rajapaksa held bilateral discussions with Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and attended 2013 International Smart Partnership Dialogue in the city of Dar es Salaam.
President Kikwete reaffirmed his country's fullest support to Sri Lanka to host 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) during bilateral discussions with President Rajapaksa. He also pledged to send a substantial delegation to the Commonwealth Business Forum.
President Rajapaksa met Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohamed Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak on the sidelines of the 2013 Global Smart Partnership Dialogue and the Malaysian PM assured the President of Malaysia's participation in 2013 CHOGM and wished the summit success.
Following bilateral discussions Sri Lanka and Tanzania signed three agreements covering visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders, Intelligence, Defence and Security Cooperation and Cultural Cooperation.
While in Seychelles President Rajapaksa had bilateral discussions with Seychelles President James Alix Michel and three agreements covering bilateral air-service, vocational training and youth development and defense cooperation were signed between the two countries.
President Rajapaksa also addressed Seychelles' National Assembly at an Extraordinary Sitting and attended Sri Lanka – Seychelles Business Forum.