Sri Lanka and the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Manila aimed at forging greater cooperation and further enhancing relations between the two countries with the Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario stating that the MoU was “an important step towards further deepening the Philippines’ engagement with Sri Lanka.”
Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario – who holds the Cabinet portfolio of Foreign Affairs – and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Philippines Mrs. Aruni Ranaraja signed the MoU on Political Consultations on behalf of the two countries.
The MoU will facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation through consultations and exchange of opinions on bilateral and international issues of mutual interest.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Secretary del Rosario further stated “Sri Lanka is a friend of the Philippines. The establishment of this key mechanism for regular discussion of consultation on issues of importance to both countries is vital to strengthen our friendship and to ensure greater cooperation.”
Secretary Del Rosario applauded the signature for its timeliness with the “celebrations this year of the 55th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations” between the countries. Observing “there are greater opportunities for growth in our relations with Sri Lanka”, Secretary Del Rosario added “we are positive that the holding of the inaugural political consultations this year will help to identify areas of mutual collaboration”.
Ambassador Aruni Ranaraja while warmly appreciating the firm commitment expressed by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario to deepen bilateral cooperation, re-affirmed Sri Lanka’s strong desire to elevate the relationship to greater heights and take concrete steps to establish a more robust, mutually rewarding and meaningful engagement. Sri Lanka will thus “strengthen our relations with the Philippines in all spheres with special emphasis on our political relations as well as trade and investment, human resources development, tourism, higher education, energy, agriculture, aviation, migrant workers rights and humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, IT/BPO, and enhance further the enduring people-to-people linkages” she said.
The year 2016 marks the significant milestone of fifty five years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Philippines established in 1961. (Colombo Gazette)