Sri Lankan President said so after receiving the prestigious Sheikh Isa Medal, the highest honor of the Kingdom of Bahrain.from the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa .at a ceremony at the King's Palace today (28) during his first visit as well as the first ever state visit of a President of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
President Rajapaksa further said " I share your majesty's philosophy, that a nation's citizens should be empowered, to contribute effectively to the economic growth of the country."
"This very tenet is encompassed in my policies for economic development of Sri Lanka", he added.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's speech accepting the prestigious Khalifa Medal, the highest honor in the Kingdom of Bahrain is as follows:,
'On your Majesty's gracious invitation, I am extremely pleased to visit your beautiful Kingdom. I thank your majesty for the kind and generous welcome and for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation. The first ever state visit of a President of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Bahrain is a reflection of the warmth and maturity of the relationship between our two countries.
'Your majesty, I am humbled and honored to receive the prestigious Sheikh Isa Medal, the highest honor of the Kingdom of Bahrain. This is particularly because, this award celebrates the life-long dedication of late Emir, Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa to humanitarianism, and the distinct impact he left on the Bahrain and world.
'As a young member of parliament, I have memories of Sheikh Isa visiting Sri Lanka to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in 1976 as the Emir of the newly independent Bahrain. I believe this great leader's far farsightedness has provided a solid foundation for modern Bahrain. As an island nation in the Gulf, achievements of Bahrain are remarkable and impressive. The Bahrain International Formula One Circuit has elevated the stature of your Kingdom across seas as sports lovers know.
'I am aware that under Your Majesty's visionary leadership, Bahrain has achieved rapid economic growth and significant improvement in the quality of life of your people. I share your majesty's philosophy, that a nation's citizens should be empowered, to contribute effectively to the economic growth of the country.
"This very tenet is encompassed in my policies for economic development of Sri Lanka.
"Sri Lanka, as an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has been able to embark on a rapid and robust journey to growth since the end of the 3 decade long struggle against terrorism. My country now stands undivided, under one flag, committed to achieving sustainable economic prosperity, shared by all communities.
'Your majesty, Sri Lanka's decision to open a new mission in Manama last year was based on our prioritized policy to work closely with the like-minded countries in this region. With Bahrain, we seek to build an enhanced dynamic partnership. Several business leaders from my country have accompanied me on this visit to explore the considerable potential for the expansion of economic relations, between our two countries.
"The kind words, gracious hospitality and warm interactions will leave enduring and fond memories of this state visit, for me and my delegation, which undoubtedly will translate into active cooperation, between our two countries. It is, therefore with great pleasure that I wish your majesty, good health, happiness and long life; peace and prosperity to the people of Bahrain and stronger Bahraini - Sri Lanka relations.'