The Sri Lankan Ambassador said that relations with Saudi Arabia are based on respect

The relations between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka are based on common values, mutual respect, support and non-interference, said the Ambassador of Colombo in Riyadh, Baqir Mohidin Amsa.

Speaking at Sri Lanka's 76th Independence Day celebrations, he said, “Sri Lanka-Saudi Arabia relations are centuries old. Sri Lanka was an important point on the historic Silk Road, which was widely used by Arab traders. In ancient times the Arabs called Sri Lanka 'Serendip', which was later added to the English vocabulary as 'serendipity'.

He said the Sri Lankan leadership has on many occasions commended the Saudi Vision 2030, which is a well-thought-out strategy considering the Kingdom's strengths and capabilities and the impressive progress made under it. Headed by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Sri Lanka is delighted to host Riyadh Expo 2030, which Colombo first supported.

Amsa noted that the past two years have been very fruitful for the relations between the two states.

In March 2022, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Sri Lanka.

This is the first bilateral foreign ministerial visit from the Kingdom to Sri Lanka since we established diplomatic relations in 1974, Amsa said.

After that, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabri visited Saudi Arabia early last year.

About a dozen ministers have visited Riyadh from Colombo in the past two years, and a visit by Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim in November 2023 helped draw a blueprint for future economic cooperation. between the two countries.

The two countries have signed three agreements in the past year covering double taxation, foreign employment and political consultation.

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The first session of the joint commission between the two countries was held in Riyadh in May 2023, covering 63 areas such as trade, industry, investment, energy, finance, economy, transport, communication, agriculture, education, health, sports, culture, tourism. , Defense, Judiciary and Labor have been identified for further cooperation, the ambassador said.

He added that employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Saudi Arabia had increased last year and the Kingdom had created 63,000 positions for Sri Lankans.

„Of the $7-8 billion remittances to Sri Lanka annually, 15 to 20 percent are generated by Sri Lankans living in the Kingdom,” Amsa said.

The number of Saudi nationals visiting Sri Lanka is also increasing rapidly, following several tourism events with active participation of many tourism companies, including the official launch of the Ibn Battuta Trail Travel Package, tracing the route of a 14th century traveler. was added.

The Ambassador extended his greetings to fellow Sri Lankans living in Saudi Arabia.

“Our post-independence journey has had ups and downs like any other country. We have challenges and opportunities. Fortunately our road to recovery is steady and encouraging. Inflation in Sri Lanka has come down to 5 percent from 70 percent in September 2022. The rupee remains stable. A year-on-year increase of 60 percent from 2022-2023. Tourism has seen a growth of 106 percent by 2023 (and) our reserves have increased from $20 million in April 2022 to $4.5 billion by January 2024.

The reception was attended by senior Saudi officials, diplomats, entrepreneurs and members of the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom.

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