Apr 19, Dhaka: Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Tuesday agreed that the bilateral trade between the two countries, though showing positive trends, was far below the potential and decided to take measures to strengthen their commercial relations through innovative ways to facilitate trade, shipping and air connectivity.
The two leaders, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who arrived in Dhaka Monday on a three-day official visit, and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina held official discussions yesterday and witnessed the signing of five Memoranda of Agreements to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)
In a joint statement issued, the two sides said they have underscored the need for re-activating the relevant institutional mechanisms for mutual cooperation.
Recognizing that the Bangladesh Sri-Lanka Joint Economic Commission as an effective mechanism to further enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in many spheres, they have agreed to hold the fourth session of the Joint Economic Commission as soon as possible.
Both countries noting that there was tremendous potential for cooperation in the tourism sector agreed to draw up special tour packages for people interested in visiting Buddhist religious sites.
The two countries expressed satisfaction with the ongoing level of cooperation between their defense forces through exchange of training and goodwill visits and agreed to promote further exchange and interaction between the defence forces.
In response to the request from Bangladesh, the Sri Lanka agreed to provide training to nurses from Bangladesh in Sri Lanka.
President Rajapaksa assured that Sri Lanka would consider Bangladesh’s candidature as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period of 2016-17.
Prime Minister Hasina gave assurance to President Rajapaksa on his request to arrange sending Sacred Hair Relics of Lord Buddha presently enshrined in a Buddhist Monastery in Chittagong for exposition in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has signed the five agreements on behalf of Sri Lanka in the presence of the two leaders at the Prime Minister Hasina’s office on Monday.
The memoranda signed by the two countries included the following:
- MoU between the Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka and the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh
- MoU between the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh for Cooperation in the relevant fields
- MoU between Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) and Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy (SLCARP) on cooperation in agriculture
- MoU between Tertiary and Vocational Commission (TVEC) of Sri Lanka and the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) of Bangladesh for exchange documentation and related material.
- Cultural Exchange Programme between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for the years 2011-2014