In his welcoming speech, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE and Sri Lanka enjoyed deep-rooted relations of friendship and cooperation. He expressed UAE’s keenness to become a key partner in Sri Lanka’s ongoing development process.
“The joint commission’s mandate and the efforts being made to enhance ties enjoy the support of the two countries leadership. Today’s meeting is a testimony to the two countries’ desire to boost bilateral cooperation and to serve mutual interests of the two friendly peoples,” he said.
Sheikh Abdullah also noted that Sri Lanka was considered one of the UAE’s key strategic partners. Trade between the two countries jumped to US$ 1.5 billion in 2012, while the volume of UAE investments in Sri Lanka accounted for US$ 440 million and the number of flights between the two countries reached 47 flights a week.
Sheikh Abdullah noted that the joint commission’s main task of accelerating investments of Sri Lankan companies in the UAE and encouraging Emirati investors to tap into Sri Lankan markets.
For his part, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister thanked Sheikh Abdullah on UAE’s hosting of the committee meetings, which comes within the framework of strengthening the relations between the two countries. He said the UAE and Sri Lanka enjoy important historic relations that contribute to boosting the relations between the two countries.
The commission discussed issues of mutual interest and ways to develop the bilateral relations, as well as exploration of new areas of cooperation, especially in the fields of trade exchange, culture, science, tourism and energy.
Prof. Peiris hoped for continuation of holding of such meetings to further develop the bilateral relations, thanking the co-heads of the preparatory commission and members for their efforts that made the meetings successful. He stressed the need to follow up the resolutions.
Sheikh Abdullah and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister signed the minutes of the joint commission meetings that covered the cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, investment, security, judiciary, education, customs and energy. They also signed a number of important agreements between the two countries.