The government of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka today agreed to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two nations and support each other in international fora on issues of mutual interest.
Bangladesh reassured to stand by with Sri Lanka in international fora when Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Tress this morning.
“We stand by our Sri Lankan brothers on the issue of human rights,” Mr. Haque said, noting that he was “very impressed and pleasantly surprised” by Sri Lanka’s development since his last visit to Sri Lanka more than five years ago.
“It’s an internal matter, and we are confident of the leadership. We don’t want to see this brought up (in international fora) at any level,” Mr. Haque told President Rajapaksa.
During the meeting, Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary briefed the President on the purpose of his current visit which is to assess ongoing collaborations and explore potential new sectors of cooperation including the areas of trade and shipping.
Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary, who arrived in the island on Sunday for a three-day official visit, held discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunatilaka Amunugama yesterday.
During discussions, the two sides signed an agreement at the External Affairs Ministry to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in numerous fields, including economic, political, cultural, health, education, defence, and shipping.
Mr. Haque is in Sri Lanka to take part in the Second Foreign Secretary Level Consultations. The first of the foreign secretary level bilateral discussions took place in Dhaka in January 2011.
The discussions were expected to review the entire range of Sri Lanka’s relations with Bangladesh with focus on exploring new avenues of cooperation and expanding existing economic relations.
During his visit, the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh was scheduled to meet Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L Peiris, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiyutheen.
Others in the Bangladeshi delegation that met with the President today included the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Colombo Mohammad Sufiur Raaman, a joint secretary of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Shipping Nasir Arif Mahmud and Director (South Asia) of the Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tareq Md. Ariful Islam.
Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Nirmala Kothalawala, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunatilaka Amunugama also joined the meeting with the President.