World leaders pledge support for SL’s development

June 20. Daily News

*Russia stands by Sri Lanka
*China assures support to Sri Lanka
*Kazakhstan to implement bilateral trade ventures
*Spain commends SL’s resettlement op

World leaders pledge support for SL’s developmentWorld leaders who attended the 15th St Petersburg International Economic Forum have extended their solidarity and support to post conflict economic and social development efforts in Sri Lanka.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev have told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that they would stand by Sri Lanka in its moment of need.

During bilateral talks held on the sidelines of the economic forum, President Medvedev assured President Rajapaksa that Russia will stand by Sri Lanka in all its efforts, the President’s Media said.

Meanwhile, President Jintao too has extended his country’s fullest support to Sri Lanka.

‘China will always support Sri Lanka to safeguard the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintain the coordination and cooperation with Sri Lanka on regional and international affairs, the Chinese President said.

President Jintao made these observations when he met President Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, the President’s Media said.

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero has said that the international community and the United Nations should support Sri Lanka in its post-conflict development.

He said so when he met President Rajapaksa in St Petersburg on the sidelines of the economic forum.

Premier Zapatero has also commended Sri Lanka’s efforts to resettle nearly 95 percent of the 300,000 people, displaced during the humanitarian operation against LTTE.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said that Sri Lanka has made impressive strides in its post-conflict development efforts.

During discussions with President Rajapaksa he has agreed to implement a number of bilateral trade ventures which would benefit both countries.

President Rajapaksa during discussions thanked all countries for the assistance given to usher sustainable peace in Sri Lanka and for their fullest cooperation to develop the country. Talks held by the President has also helped strengthen existing social, economic and trade relations between Sri Lanka and the above nations. They have also helped to usher new vistas, especially in the form of foreign investments in Sri Lanka on a variety of fields.

Russia to begin oil, gas exploration in Mannar

The Russian oil and gas company GAZPROM, one of the largest in the world, has agreed to commence oil and gas exploration in the seas off the coast Mannar. They have agreed to send a group of experts for feasibility studies and to find the possibility of using Liquid Natural Gas in Sri Lanka.

The Russian company has agreed to set up an oil refinery in Sri Lanka. This was agreed following discussions between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Russian Gas and Oil Company chairman Alexei Miller in St Petersburg.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G L Peiris, Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Russia Udayanga Weeratunga and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal too attended the discussions. GAZPROM is one of the largest gas companies in the world and supplies gas to a number of countries including 30 European nations with an annual outflow of 500 million cubic metres.

Kazakhstan to explore direct flights to Lanka

Kazakhstan is to explore possibilities of initiating direct flights to Sri Lanka to help its nationals who want to tour the country. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka was one of the popular tourist destinations among his countrymen.

President Nazarbayev said so when he met President Rajapaksa for bi-lateral discussions on the sidelines of the 15th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia.

In addition to the possibility of initiating direct flights between the two countries, the two leaders discussed ways and means of enhancing bi-lateral trade in other fields as well, the President’s Media said.

Kazakhstan is one of the leading buyers of Sri Lankan tea.

President Rajapaksa invited Kazakhstan investors to explore possibilities of investing in Sri Lanka. During discussions, the Kazakhstan President also commended the progress of economic development in Sri Lanka, since the end of conflict.

He invited President Rajapaksa to visit Kazakhstan, the President’s Media said.