President Mahinda Rajapaksa and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key held discussions this morning in New York. In a cordial conversation, the two leaders talked about a number of topics, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that will take place in Colombo in a little more than a month.
"We are looking forward to coming to CHOGM," Prime Minister Key told President Rajapaksa also indicating that he was unable to attend CHOGM 2011 in Perth, Australia, and is looking forward to seeing Sri Lanka.
President Rajapaksa invited New Zealand to send representatives to the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) as well; the Prime Minister accepted the invitation and said New Zealand would be able to send representatives to the CBF.
Pointing out that Sri Lanka is a very important market for New Zealand's dairy sector, Prime Minister Key said that his country has a great deal of technological expertise that it is willing to share to further develop Sri Lanka's dairy sector.
President Rajapaksa talked to the Prime Minister about some of Sri Lanka's post-war developments and the prevailing economic climate with reducing poverty and unemployment rates.
Prime Minister Key also requested President Rajapaksa to consider supporting New Zealand in its bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2015 – 2016. President Rajapaksa told the Prime Minister that Sri Lanka has not yet decided which country it will support but assured Prime Minister Key that Sri Lanka will consider his request.
The New Zealand delegation consisted of Foreign Minister Mr. Murray McCully, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations Mr. Jim McLay, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr. Gerad van Bohemen, Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Mr. Wayne Eagleson, Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Adviser Mr. Ben King and Foreign Minister's Foreign Policy Adviser Mr. Billie Moore.
The Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Mr. Dullas Alahapperuma and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona were present at the meeting.