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Sri Lanka, Australia sign MoUs on development

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Published: 13:14 GMT, Feb 15, 2017 |
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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is visiting Australia at the invitation of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, held discussions with the Australian Premier at the Parliament House in Canberra today (Feb 15).

Following bilateral discussions between the two sides, the two leaders witnessed the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding on development cooperation and on strengthening cooperation in sport.

Addressing a press conference following their meeting, the Australian PM said they had a fruitful discussion, reflecting the very deep relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka.

The discussions focused on maritime cooperation, Australia’s support for Sri Lanka’s economic development, trade and cooperation in sports.

“We are Indian Ocean neighbors and we have a shared interest in a secure, stable and prosperous region. In particular, safe and open Indian Ocean trade routes are critically important to both our nations and it’s fitting then that maritime cooperation is such an important focus,” Premier Turnbull said.

He said as Sri Lanka is making great strides to recover from years of terrible civil conflict, Australia through its aid program will play a small part in supporting the Sri Lankan Government’s reconciliation agenda, which is laying the groundwork for long-term, sustainable and inclusive peace.

The Aussie Premier noted that the economic relationship between the two countries is growing and the trade between Sri Lanka and Australia was worth around $1 billion last year. Australian companies are investing in Sri Lanka, encouraged by the Sri Lankan government’s economic reform agenda, he said.

Mr. Turnbull pointed out that Australia remains a popular destination for Sri Lankan students to study abroad and some 7,500 Sri Lankans are studying in Australia.