Sri Lanka and Thailand Agree for Closer Cooperation in Defense and Maritime Security

The Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra met President Mahinda Rajapaksa

The Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra met President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday morning at the Presidential Secretariat during which the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in defense and maritime security.

President Rajapaksa said sharing experiences and expertise will contribute to eradicating terrorism and other security threats in the region. He made these remarks while pointing out that despite the war’s end in 2009, supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are continuing their fight to divide Sri Lanka from foreign shores.

“We must cooperate more closely in security-related information and intelligence sharing,” President Rajapaksa said. Prime Minister Shinawatra commended the Sri Lankan government’s efforts in fighting terrorism under the leadership of President Rajapaksa. “Thailand extends our support to make Sri Lanka a peaceful and prosperous nation,” the Prime Minister told the President.

The President also expressed gratitude to Thailand for its “firm support” to Sri Lanka at the 19th and 22nd U.N. Human Rights Council meetings, adding that Sri Lanka “should be entitled to have time and space to proceed with a delicate process of national reconciliation.”

The two leaders also spoke about trade relations, acknowledging that there was room for improvement. President Rajapaksa invited the Thai government to invest in Sri Lankan government debentures and expressed the willingness to work more closely with Thailand in promoting more business opportunities in the small and medium industrial sector.

Following the bilateral discussions, the two countries signed several MoUs in the areas of immigration, tourism, scientific and technical cooperation, and commerce and banking. The Prime Minister’s visit to the island is a part of the activities planned to mark the 260th anniversary of the establishment of the Siam Maha Nikaya in Sri Lanka.

The Thai delegation comprised of several high-level government officials including Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul who serves as both the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

The Sri Lanka delegation consisted of a number of ministers and high-level government officials including the following: Prime Minister Mr. D.M. Jayaratne, Ministers G.L. Peiris, Douglas Devananda, Basil Rajapaksa, Rajitha Senaratne, Nirupama Rajapaksa, Patali Champika Ranwaka, Rishad Bathiyutheen and Priyankara Jayaratna, Monitoring MP Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Ministry Secretaries Karunatilaka Amunugama , P. B. Jayasundara and Anura Siriwardena, Chief-of-Staff Gamini Senerath, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Thailand General S.H.S. Kottegoda, among others.

(Courtesy: President Media)