Sri Lanka and Mauritania signed an agreement yesterday to establish a Joint Commission on Cooperation to further strengthen relations between the two countries.
The signing took place following bilateral talks between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz at the President's Office yesterday.
During the meeting between the two presidents, Mauritania requested for Sri Lanka's expertise and assistance in developing a number of sectors, including mining, health, vocational training, fisheries and agriculture.
Pointing out the advancements Sri Lanka has made in all these areas, President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka is more than happy to assist in keeping with its overall policy of enhancing relations with Africa.
"We have been taking measures to strengthen our relations in Africa," President Rajapaksa said.
President Aziz is visiting Sri Lanka on transit to Brisbane, Australia, to attend the G-20 Summit. Mauritania, the 2014 chair of the African Union has been invited to attend the G-20 Summit as a guest country.
President Rajapaksa welcoming the guest's short visit invited President Aziz to return to Sri Lanka for an official visit to further the relations between the two countries.
Despite the geographical distance between the two nations, President Aziz said, "There is a great potential for our two countries to work together. We're looking forward to a longer visit. (We) like to strengthen and consolidate our relations."
Sri Lanka established formal diplomatic relations with Mauritania on Dec. 21, 2012, following a Cabinet decision in 2012 to establish diplomatic relations with 15 African countries. The Sri Lanka Embassy in Egypt is concurrently accredited to Mauritania.
The two countries already share good relations, with Mauritania having consistently supported Sri Lanka in international forums, including at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2012 and 2013, despite facing external pressure.
Pointing out that many countries have gone through and continue to go through the type of difficulties Sri Lanka has faced, particularly with the terrorist war, President Aziz commended President Rajapaksa for overcoming them.
During the meeting the two countries signed an Agreement for the Establishment of a Joint Commission on Cooperation and an Agreement on Bilateral Political Consultations.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris signed the agreements on behalf of Sri Lanka while Mauritanian Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Mr. Sidi Tah signed for Mauritania.