Sri Lanka, Bangladesh pledge to enhance ties on all fronts

| Updated: Jul 16, 2017 05:24 IST

Dhaka [Bangladesh], July 15 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday issued a joint statement pledging to strengthen bilateral relations and expressed their "deep satisfaction" on the signing of 14 agreements of cooperation in trade and investment, agriculture, information and communication technology, higher education, finance and people-to-people connectivity, reported. A joint statement issued today in Dhaka concluding the three-day state visit of Maithripala Sirisena. Sirisena also extended an invitation to the Bangladesh Prime Minister to visit Colombo in 2018. The leaders also directed the authorities for early finalisation of the agreements on customs cooperation, avoidance of double taxation and promotion and protection of investment between the countries, the daily star reported. Sirisena and Hasina also welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on economic partnership between the countries which they believed "should pave way for conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement by end-2017". If done, that would be the first FTA of Bangladesh with any country. The leaders also underlined the need for a peaceful, stable, inclusive and sustainable South Asian region, the report said. The two leaders affirmed to further strengthen the bilateral relations and engagements based on mutual trust and respect, a vision of securing shared prosperity through mutually beneficial win-win partnership. They reiterated that Bangladesh - Sri Lanka relationship was anchored in commonalities of history, culture, language and shared values of pluralism, secularism, democracy and development. They re-affirmed their common aspiration for peace, stability, harmony, prosperity and sustainable development of the region and beyond. President Sirisena expressed Sri Lanka's appreciation to the Bangladesh leadership for extending Bangladesh's valuable support to Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council and other United Nations and international organizations bodies. The two leaders recalled the atrocities that took place during Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971. Noting the resolution adopted by Bangladesh Parliament declaring 25 March as the 'Genocide Day' in Bangladesh, they acknowledged the necessity of recognition of the unforgettable sufferings borne by the innocent, freedom-loving people of Bangladesh in 1971. Recognising the threats arising out of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation on any religious or societal pretext, the leaders pledged to work together to counteract all such challenges in both countries and beyond. In countering the challenges in the region and beyond, They agreed to work towards convening a broad-based dialogue on tolerance, inclusion and pluralism in 2018. (ANI)