Sri Lanka was assured of Cuba’s unequivocal support by Cuban leaders when they met the Minister of Environment & Renewable Energy, Susil Premajayanth during his official visit to Cuba from 17th to 19th February as the Special Envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
On 19th February, Minister Premajayanth paid a courtesy call on the First Deputy President, Migeul Diaz Canal at the Palace of Revolution during which the Minister conveyed the best wishes and greetings from President Rajapaksa to President Raůl Castro and expressed appreciation for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him during his short but fruitful stay in Cuba. After exchanging pleasantries, the two sides appreciated the privileged partnership and cooperation enjoyed by the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1959 which will mark the 55th Anniversary in July this year. The First Deputy President referred to the state visit to Cuba of President Rajapaksa in June 2012 as a landmark event that paved the way for further consolidation of Sri Lanka – Cuba relations to a new level. While echoing the sentiments expressed by Minister Premajayanth that,Sri Lanka and Cuba being pioneers of NAM and G – 77 have shared aspirations and common interest, the First Deputy President said that the two countries should continue to support and help one another on issues affecting their interests. He said this fact is clearly demonstrated at the international fora by their firm resolve and commitment to oppose injustice, double standards and unfair treatment of sovereign countries by certain elements with vested interest and hidden agenda. The First Deputy President also assured in no uncertain terms to Minister Premajayanthof Cuba’s unequivocal support to Sri Lanka in facing challenges at international fora.He also appreciated Sri Lanka’s consistent support andsolidarity for the Cuban cause and for the lifting of embargo against its people.
Minister Premajayanth while recalling his previous visit to Cuba as the Chief Minister of the Western Province for the 9th Youth Festival in Havana in 1997, congratulated the Cuban leaders for the tremendous progress and transformation taken place in the country contributing for the socio-economic wellbeing, progress and prosperity for the Cuban people. The Minister also paid tribute to the Cuban revolutionary leaders such as Che-Guevara, Fidel Castro and Raul Castro for their far sighted vision and steadfastness in laying a solid foundation to foster and promote Sri Lanka – Cuba relations. Moreover, he noted with gratitude the assistance offered by Cuba to promote Sri Lanka’s human resources, education, agriculture, science & technology etc. and said that Cuba’s advanced technology and expertise would be of benefit to Sri Lanka to developits capacity to enhance Bio & Nano technology sectors. A reference was also made on the possibility to offer scholarships to Cuban students to study in Sri Lankan universities and to share knowledge and expertise to develop coconut industry in Cuba. An invitation extended to the First Deputy President to visit Sri Lanka was taken note of.
Minister Premajayanth also conducted bilateral discussions with Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla at the Ministry on the 18th during which the two ministers shared, inter alia their perspectives on further promoting friendship and cooperation between the two countries based on mutual understanding and respect.
Minister Bruno, while welcoming the Sri Lankan Minister to Cuba lauded the progress made by Sri Lanka in the restoration of peace, harmony, reconciliation and livelihood of the people suffered during the conflict. He also acknowledged Sri Lanka’s commitment to fulfill its obligations towards its own people and affirmed Cuba’s goodwill and support to Sri Lanka in safeguarding its interest at international fora. Minister Premajayanth on his part appreciated Cuba’s strongsupport and reiterated that Sri Lanka is committed to extend its cooperation and solidarity to Cuba at all times. He also briefed the tremendous strides made by Sri Lanka under the leadership of President Rajapaksatowards the upliftment of living standards, rebuilding, and reconciliation and implementing the recommendation of the LLRC as a means of fulfilling its obligations by the people of Sri Lanka. An invitation extended to Foreign Minister Bruno to visit Sri Lanka was accepted with pleasure.