- Published on Saturday, 29 June 2013 01:05
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President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Tanzania has laid a solid foundation to further enhance cooperation in all sectors between Sri Lanka and the African Continent, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said.
President Kikwete made these comments yesterday (27) when he held bilateral discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently on a state visit to Tanzania.
"President Rajapaksa’s determination and commitment to strengthen economic cooperation with the African region is commendable", President Kikwete said while adding that Sri Lanka and Tanzania have a long history of cooperation."Your visit certainly strengthens this relationship," he observed.
President Rajapaksa thanked the Tanzanian President for inviting him to participate at the 2013 Global Smart Partnership Dialogue as it provided a platform to discuss matters of mutual interest and to meet with leaders in the region.
"The success Sri Lanka had gained in the tea industry is impressive and we are willing to learn from you", the Tanzanian President added. His country would also like to share experiences and learn from Sri Lanka in clove and coconut industries.
President Rajapaksa informed his Tanzanian counterpart about the Coconut Research Center in Sri Lanka and said it could be possible to send a team of experts to Tanzania for technical assistance.
President Kikwete also expressed willingness to learn from Sri Lanka about the success in building and maintaining Private – Public Partnerships.
President Rajapaksa congratulated the African Union on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee and said Sri Lanka’s foreign policy took a new turn in 2005. "Sri Lanka is seeking observer status with the Union", President Rajapaksa said and sought Tanzania’s support for the move.
"Time has come for us to develop economic partnerships" said President Rajapaksa. He also pointed out that there were new opportunities for South – South dialogue. President conveyed Sri Lanka’s willingness to offer scholarships to Tanzanian students, which would help increasing people- to – people interaction.
After defeating 30-year long terrorism, Sri Lanka has now embarked on the path to peace and development, President Rajapaksa said adding that his government is committed to restore infrastructure facilities destroyed by terrorists. "We have now started developing the area building roads, railway lines, schools and hospitals because the LTTE destroyed everything," he said. President also apprised his Tanzanian counterpart of the progress in demining and resettling the Internally Displaced Persons in the North of Sri Lanka.
The President told the Tanzanian President that elections to the Northern Provincial Councils of Sri Lanka will be held in September this year.
President Kikwete commended President Rajapaksa’s path in handling post-conflict activities.
Following bilateral discussions Sri Lanka and Tanzania signed three agreements covering visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders, Intelligence, Defence and Security Cooperation and Cultural