COLOMBO: Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka are broadening their political consultation and expanding bilateral cooperation to over 60 areas, officials of both countries have told Arab News after their first joint committee meeting.
A delegation of Sri Lankan officials was in Riyadh over the weekend for the first session of the Saudi-Sri Lankan Joint Committee, which was established to expand bilateral engagements.
The session was co-chaired by Saudi Vice Minister for Human Resources Dr. Abdullah Abu Thunain and Tharaka Balasuriya, Sri Lanka’s state minister for foreign affairs. “I am extremely pleased with our growing bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Balasuriya told Arab News.
“The recently concluded joint commission has identified 63 areas for cooperation in various sectors.”
The two countries also signed a memorandum on political consultations, marking a new step in bilateral relations.
“The MoU on political consultations provides opportunities for discussions between our two foreign ministries periodically. That will immensely help in the process of (enhancing) our relations,” Balasuriya said.
“We are also pleased to witness the emergence of the Kingdom as a leading player in the international arena.”
Envoys of both countries also welcomed the expanded cooperation.
“The results of the meetings…will contribute to enhancing cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, work, environment, education, culture, sports, agriculture and humanitarian work,” Saudi Ambassador to Colombo Khalid bin Hamoud Al-Qahtani said.
“I am sure that this visit will help consolidate the existing distinguished relations to a greater extent between the two countries.”
Al-Qahtani added that the agreement on political consultation was “an important achievement” in bilateral relations, while Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Riyadh Pakeer Mohideen Amza said it was “immensely beneficial.”
“Political consultations facilitate the foreign ministries of both countries to sit and discuss…matters of mutual interest,” Amza told Arab News.
“Sri Lanka-Saudi Arabia relations have reached a level of excellence and both countries are cooperating with each other in the international fora.”