Sri Lanka and Bahrain yesterday signed three Memorandums of Understanding on sports, culture and arts, and another between the University of Colombo and the University of Bahrain. The agreements aim to further collaboration and strengthen the relations between the two countries.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was received at the Al-Sakhir Palace by the King of Bahrain His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Kalifa and other high-level Bahraini officials. Prior to the signing, President Rajapaksa received a warm welcome at the Palace.
President Rajapaksa said that this visit being the first ever state visit of a Sri Lankan President is an indication of the “warmth and maturity of the relationship between our two countries.”
During bilateral discussions, the two leaders discussed a number of matters of mutual interest while also expressing the mutual support of the two countries in the international arena.
“The leadership of the President is well-known." King Hamad told members of his delegation “He has done a good job for the stability of the region.”
Sri Lanka and Bahrain established formal diplomatic relations in 1992 and a new Sri Lankan mission was established in the capital Manama in February 2013. The strengthening of relations between the two countries is evident politically and economically. In 2009, Sri Lanka hosted the Prime Minister on a two-day visit during which the Prime Minister donated $1 million to reconstruction work in the North. Economically, trade between Sri Lanka and Bahrain has seen an increase from $7.3 million in 2003 to $34.9 million in 2013.
The Sri Lankan delegation at the bilateral discussions included Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Industry and Commerce Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Mr. Dilan Perera, Deputy Minister of Labor and Labor Relations Mr. Sarath Weerasekara, Provincial Council Member Mr. Nauzer Fowzi, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Bahrain Mr. Anura Rajakaruna and a number of members of the business delegation also joined parts of the event.