President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Seychelles President James A. Michel during bilateral discussions at the State House in Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, (28) agreed to strengthen already exiting bilateral relations while expanding cooperation into new areas.
President Rajapaksa concluding the two-day state visit to Maldives arrived in Seychelles yesterday.
Starting talks saying he was pleased to welcome President Rajapaksa to his country for the second time, President Michel said “relation between our two countries set an example for South – South cooperation. We are proving that South – South cooperation is possible”.
Following President Rajapaksa’s visit to Seychelles there has been a remarkable improvement in the bilateral relations between the two countries, President Michel said. “Your present one is another step forward”, Seychelles President said.
President Rajapaksa thanking for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation congratulated Seychelles for its 38th Anniversary of Independence which falls on July 28. President Michel’s visit to Sri Lanka in August 2010, greatly contributed to the expanding of bilateral relations, President said adding that opening of new Sri Lanka High Commission in Seychelles, Bank of Ceylon branch and Sri Lanka Insurance branch are testimony for that.
“Both of us are Indian ocean nations. Cultural and trade bonds between our two countries has a long history. We need to identify new areas of cooperation,” said President Rajapaksa. Priority should be given to areas such as trade, investment, tourism, education and people to people contact, he said.
President Rajapaksa expressing hope that future bilateral relations would reach to a new level invited the Seychelles President to visit Sri Lanka.
President Michel is of also agreed that already existing relations are at a satisfactory level. “Ours is a win-win partnership. We can learn a lot in Sri Lanka. We are ready to continue relationship with Sri Lanka”, President Michel said commending Sri Lanka for raising common issues faced by the developing countries at international fora.
Following bilateral discussions the two presidents proceeded for one-to-one meeting. Vice President of Seychelles Danny Faure and Minister of Prof. G. L. Peiris continued bilateral discussions between the two countries.
Agreements which are scheduled to sign today will create a strong platform for the relations, Prof. Peiris said. He further said Sri Lanka can provide training facilities for teachers for the development of education in Seychelles. As ocean nations, both the countries should prioritize enhancing “blue economies”, he added.
Seychelles Education Minister will visit Sri Lanka this week to explore the areas of assistance while the Minister of Health is schedule to visit before the end of the year, Vice President Faure said. He commended the maritime training provided by SINEC Maritime Campus to his country’s youth.
Expressing views on trade between the two countries, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External affairs, Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena requested to provide facilities for Sri Lanka pineapple exporters. Maximum benefits should be reaped from the Investment Forum organized by the Sri Lanka Board of Development in Seychelles in October this year, Minister pointed out.
Minister of Higher Education Mr. S.B. Dissanayake, Members of Parliament Mr. A.H.M. Azwar, Mr. Lohan Ratwatta, Mr. Udith Lokubandara, Mr. Ranjith de Zoysa and Mr. Thenuka Vidanagamage, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Seychelles Mr. Rajatha Piyatissa were also present at the discussion .