Rajapaksa for strengthening ties with Bangladesh

Dhaka, Mar 19 – Visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday said his country wants to strengthen bilateral relations with Bangladesh.” I look forward to engaging with PM Sheikh Hasina and the Government of Bangladesh to strengthen the bilateral relationship to mutually benefit both [of] our nations,” he tweeted after his arrival in Dhaka.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister is the second among the world leaders to attend the celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence.
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka began bilateral talks at the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka Saturday.
The Bangladesh delegation at the talks was being led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while visiting leader Mahinda Rajapaksha is leading the Sri Lankan side.
Before the formal delegation-level talks, the two leaders held a tête-à-tête.
Earlier, on his arrival at the PMO, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister was received by his Bangladeshi counterpart at the Tiger gate.
A number of MoUs are likely to be signed after the bilateral meeting to strengthen cooperation in various sectors of the two SAARC countries.
Prime Minister Hasina and Rajapaksha will witness the signing of the MoUs.
According to sources in the Foreign Ministry, there is a possibility of signing as many as five MoUs to enhance bilateral ties in the areas of trade, investment and shipping.
The other areas include coastal shipping, preferential trade, and promotion and protection of investment, sources said.
“I’m honoured to be a part of the Golden Jubilee Independence celebrations and look forward to the next two days of festivities and discussions,” said the Sri Lankan Prime Minister.
Bangladesh has warmly welcomed Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa as he began his Bangladesh tour.
In the afternoon, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister will attended the National Parade Square function at Tejgaon as the Guest of Honour.
In the evening, he attended a cultural programme and banquet to be hosted by the Bangladesh Prime Minister at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel InterContinental.
On Saturday afternoon, he will meet President Md Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina welcomed her Sri Lankan counterpart at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) upon his arrival on Friday morning on a two-day official visit.
Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was the first who attended the programme on March 17.
A VVIP aircraft of Sri Lankan Airlines, carrying the Sri Lankan Prime Minister along with his wife and other entourage, landed at the airport at 9:45am.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received him at the VVIP tarmac of the airport presenting him with a bouquet.
Mahinda Rajapaksa was given a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force at the airport.
Both the Prime Ministers witnessed the state honour staying on the makeshift dais while the national anthem of the respective countries was played. Ministers, State Ministers, civil and military high officials were, among others, present at the airport.
From the airport, the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister will move to the National Memorial in Savar to pay tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Dhaka will be followed by three other heads of state and government of Nepal, Bhutan and India. – UNB