The United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nayhan, visited Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka.
During bilateral consultations the Foreign Ministers explored ways of strengthening trade and investment ties, improving the welfare of Sri Lankan workers in the UAE, and collaborating on issues of regional and international concern.
Foreign Minister Samaraweera briefed his counterpart on the government’s political and economic plans. He noted that the formation of a National Government would create political and policy stability that would enable the country to address long-unsolved challenges facing Sri Lanka.
Minister Samaraweera said that, just as Sri Lanka was a paradise for UAE tourists, the government’s objective was to make it a paradise for investors. He invited UAE firms, which are already a significant source of investment for Sri Lanka, to increase their investments, observing that the Government was establishing 45 economic development zones.
Minister Samaraweera noted that the 250,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers employed the UAE make a tremendous contribution to Sri Lanka’s economy. He emphasized that Sri Lanka is committed to increasing the skill level of migrant workers entering the UAE – including domestic workers. He also noted that Sri Lanka would continue to engage through the Abu Dhabi Dialogue to improve inter-ministerial coordination and cooperation on migrant worker issues – including qualification recognition.
The two Foreign Ministers also agreed to hold the second Sri Lank-UAE Joint Commission later this year in Colombo.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment, the Chairman of the Board of Investment and the Director-General to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other senior officials attended the meeting.
The UAE Foreign Minister also called on President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.