“We seek to consolidate our historical, maritime commercial ties and build on it further” - Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday said that despite having suffered terrorism for 30 years, Sri Lanka, one of the oldest democracy of Asia, was repositioning itself and was all set to emerge as an economic, maritime and educational hub of the continent.
Earlier Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani opened the 12th Doha Forum and “Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future Conference,” at the Doha Sheraton Hotel on Sunday.
The opening ceremony was attended by Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani, Chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah, several sheikhs, Speaker of Advisory Council and ministers, along with heads of the diplomatic missions accredited to the country and guests.
Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani conferred with leaders such as Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prince al Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Speaker of the Jordanian Senate Tahir al Masri, former Spanish premier Jose Luis, Sudanese Vice President al Haj Adam Youssuf and Leader of Sudanese Ummah Party Sadiq al Mahdi, among many others.
During the host of meetings, the leaders discussed bilateral relations, in addition to topics tabled on the agenda of the 12th Doha Forum and Enriching the Middle East Economic Future Conference.
Speaking at the 12th Doha Forum and Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future Conference Rajapaksa, who was the Guest of Honour at the Forum, thanked Qatar for hosting the Forum and said that it provided Sri Lanka an opportunity to sustain and enhance economic cooperation and further strengthen historical ties with the Arab world.
“The Middle East is very important for us. There are around 1.7 million Sri Lankan migrant workers whose contribution to Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange is the highest.
Sri Lanka also imports its largest amount of energy from this region. We seek to consolidate our historical, maritime commercial ties and build on it further,” Rajapaksa said.
“Sri Lanka is poised to become self-sufficient in food production with its efforts to build a strong rural economy by investing in a big way in agriculture. Sri Lanka also has an export driven economy.
The country is on way to build an aviation hub and a maritime hub with free port in the southern region, where I come from,” he added.
According to the Sri Lankan president, the country also boasted of high GDP growth rate, highest literacy in South East Asia and remarkable progress in IT sector. He said that the country was also working towards construction of more power stations to meet domestic and commercial needs and expanding railways.
Sri Lanka President had a meeting with Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and in the evening the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani, called on the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Doha on Sunday on a three-day official visit. He was accompamied with Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, Professor G.L.Pieris, Minister Priyadarsna Yappa, Minister Rauff Hakeem, Minister Rishad Bathiyudeen, Minister Faizer Mustappah, Monitoring M.P. Sajin Vas Gunawardene, and A.H.M. Azwer M.P.
- Asian Tribune -