Sri Lanka to strengthen ties with Venezuela
(FASTNEWS | COLOMBO) – Foreign Affairs State Minister Vasantha Senanayake paid an official visit to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from October 3 to 6 on the invitation of Venezuela Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Ruben Dario Molina to renew and promote cooperation between Sri Lanka and Venezuela.
State Minister Senanayake held bilateral meetings with the Venezuela Vice Minister on October 4 at the Yellow House “Antonio José de Sucre” where they continued earlier discussions on the bilateral relationship of the two countries.
The Ministers exchanged views on the bilateral relationship and on new areas of cooperation which includes agriculture, textiles, sports and tourism. They agreed to set up a mechanism for regular political consultations. It was also agreed to consider signing an agreement for exemption of Visa requirements between the two countries to facilitate travel and to promote people to people contact and tourism.
The Venezuelan Minister emphasized the need to intensify the engagement through the exchange of high-level visits and business delegations. He proposed that the Sri Lankan apparel industry be expanded to Venezuela similar to Sri Lanka’s entry to the industry in Honduras, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The State Minister also met Tourism and Foreign Trade Minister Félix Plasencia. Here State Minister Senanayake briefed on the present developments in Sri Lanka.
The Venezuelan Minister explained the responsibilities of Venezuela towards other countries in the Latin American region. The State Minister conveyed Sri Lanka’s willingness to help develop the gem industry in Venezuela by bringing Sri Lankan lapidarists to provide technical know-how.
State Minister Vasantha Senanayake had a meeting with Minister of the People’s Power for Youth and Sports of Venezuela Pedro Infante and discussed new areas of possible cooperation. Deputy Minister of Sports, Deputy Minister of Youth and several other officials were associated with the Minister.
During the meeting State Minister Senanayake proposed a youth exchange programme between the two countries and stated that Sri Lanka facilitates such programmes with several countries. The Venezuelan side agreed to send a proposal on exchange of youth delegations.
State Minister Senanayake also paid a courtesy call on the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. President Maduro during the call, suggested that the two countries explore ways to strengthen the relationship with Sri Lanka. State Minister agreed with the President and conveyed the best wishes of President Maithripala Sirisena to the President, the Government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Cuba concurrently accredited to Venezuela A.L Ratnapala was present.