* Sri Lanka, Vietnam agree to increase cooperation in international fora

Oct 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka and Vietnam have agreed that there is a great potential to increase bilateral cooperation between the two countries in several areas, particularly in the regional and international fora.

A joint communiqu issued today at the conclusion of the Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s three-day visit to Sri Lanka said the two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the regional and international fora, particularly in ARF, UN, WTO, the Non-aligned Movement and the South-South Cooperation.

The Vietnam President who left the island on Saturday after a successful visit has invited President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pay a State Visit to Vietnam at a mutually convenient time and Rajapaksa has accepted the invitation.

During President Sang’s visit the two countries inked agreements on eight areas of activities including trade, defence, education, investment and agriculture.

The two leaders agreed that the next meeting of the Joint Commission will be held at an early time in Vietnam in order to devise a fuller agenda of bilateral cooperation in various fields.

Both Vietnam and Sri Lanka agreed to promote a dialogue on security and defence issues relevant to their bilateral relationship, including through high-level contacts between Defence Forces and the training of defense personnel.

Both countries agreed to undertake measures to facilitate trade by identifying and removing non-tariff barriers and by simplifying and harmonizing mutually recognized standards.

During his visit, President Sang also inaugurated the Sri Lanka – Vietnam Business Forum, which was attended by the representatives of the business circle of the two countries together with high-ranking officials of the two governments.

The two leaders agreed to rapidly expand bilateral agriculture cooperation, fisheries and aquaculture development and collaboration in livestock development. The two sides agreed to build a strong bilateral programme of partnership in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, including in food processing and post-harvest technology and fish processing.

Other areas the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation included, tourism sector, air connectivity and education.

For greater cooperation in the tourism sector the two leaders agreed to commence talks on Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries and directed their respective civil aviation authorities to conclude negotiations early to sign an agreement.

President Rajapaksa hosted a banquet on Friday in honor of President Sang. The visitng President held talks with the Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L .Peiris, and Senior

Minister of Human Resources D. E. W. Gunasekera in his capacity as the Leader of the Sri Lanka – Viet Nam Solidarity Movement.

The departing President also opened the new Vietnam Embassy at Ward Place in Colombo Saturday with the participation of the Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna.

President Truong Tan Sang also inaugurated the Sri Lanka – Viet Nam Business Forum, which was attended by the representatives of the business circle of the two countries together with high-ranking officials of the two governments.

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