UK KEEN ON ENHANCING RELATIONS WITH SRI LANKA
Acting British High Commissioner Lisa Whanstall discussed a range of areas on which Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom could collaborate on when she met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Conveying congratulatory wishes from the United Kingdom on the recent election victory, Acting High Commissioner Whanstall said “SLPP has a very strong mandate” and inquired about the government’s priorities.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said economic development is currently the main concern in the country as the world prepares for the post COVID-19 years. Specifically, enhancing trade relations, promoting investments, especially in the SME sector, agriculture and poverty eradication are priorities.
The Prime Minister also requested the High Commission to consider collaborations in the area of safe drinking water, noting the Government’s 5-year objective to ensure every single Sri Lankan has access to safe drinking water.
The U.K. delegation also expressed interest to continue working with Parliament, including programs for new parliamentarians with possible MP exchanges after the COVID-19 situation is under control. She further said that the U.K Government and ministers are keen on maintaining relations with Sri Lanka despite the COVID-19 situation through options like virtual meetings until visits are possible.
Acting High Commissioner Whanstall said U.K.’s International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena is also interested in further enhancing trade between the two countries and would like to discuss ease of doing business for mutual benefit.
The two delegations also spoke about the progress of the Port City while noting that Sri Lanka could use the benefit of its strategic location to attract investment. Other areas discussed included green finance, biodiversity, rural economy and sustainable agriculture.