Upon presenting Open Papers to Ambassador Carlos Perez-Desoy Fages, Director General of the Chancellery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Ambassador Hangawatte conveyed the warmest regards of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka. Meeting Ambassador Ernesto de Zulueta y Habsburgo Loreno, Director General for North America, Asia and the Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hangawatte appreciated the long standing bonds of friendship that exist between Sri Lanka and Spain and renewed the cordial nature of relations while articulating the need for the exploration of areas of cooperation and highlighting the mutually beneficial nature of such endeavours.
Meeting with the Spanish Secretary of State for Commerce, Jaime Garcia-Legaz, Ambassador Hangawatte highlighted the investment, commerce and tourism potential that existed in Sri Lanka. Looking to enhance the strong links between the two countries, Ambassador Hangawatte stressed the importance of trade and commerce as both countries looked to economic stability, diversified investment and enhanced connectivity.
Discussions were also held with the Director General of CASA ASIA, Ambassador Ramon Moreno, the Chamber of Commerce of Madrid and several business conglomerates that have invested in Sri Lanka and other multinational companies that have expressed interest in entering the business domain of Sri Lanka.
While in Madrid, Ambassador Hangawatte also attended the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Asia and Pacific Ambassadors Meeting at the invitation of its Director General, Dr Taleb Rifai at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid. During discussions on the sidelines of the annual meeting, Ambassador Hangawatte and Director General Rifai explored avenues of enhanced cooperation and efforts already underway to stimulate programmes being implemented. The discussions focused on exchanging business and tourism delegations to and from Sri Lanka to advance economic relations between the two countries.
Ambassador Hangawatte was accompanied by Serrano Salvador, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Madrid and Ms Yoshitha Jayasuriya, Second Secretary (Commercial) at the Embassy in Paris.