High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

Joint Statement on the visit of Minister Yashwant Sinha, 11-12 July 2002 PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

Hon. Yashwant Sinha, Minister for External Affairs, India, who is on a visit to Sri Lanka, undertaken immediately after assuming his present responsibilities, held wide-ranging discussions with the Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe, on July 11 evening, and with the Hon. Tyronne Fernando, Foreign Minister, this morning. The talks were held in the cordial and friendly spirit that characterizes the close relations between the two countries.

The Sri Lankan side informed the visiting Minister of the current status of the process to initiate talks to end the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The Hon. Yashwant Sinha reiterated India’s commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and to the restoration of a lasting peace through a peaceful, negotiated settlement that meets the just aspirations of all elements of Sri Lankan society. He reaffirmed India’s full support to the measures taken by the Sri Lanka Government to take the peace process forward. 

The two sides reiterated that global terrorism is a threat to international peace and security, and cannot be justified on any grounds whether political, ethnic, religious, social or economic. They stressed that this evil phenomenon must be combated unequivocally, and expressed their commitment to support all global initiatives to eradicate this menace.

The Foreign Ministers talks noted with satisfaction the momentum in the economic relationship between the two countries. They acknowledged the progress made in the expeditious resolution of outstanding issues relating to tea, garments and cement under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at the recent meeting of senior officials held in Colombo, July 4-5, 2002. The two sides shared the vision about the vast potential that exists for enlarging our economic co-operation beyond the FTA.

Both sides noted with satisfaction the recent signing of Agreements providing for concessional terms for the US$31 million supply of wheat by India to Sri Lanka and a Programme Loan of US$ 20 million provided by India for facilitating the economic stabilization of Sri Lanka, as part of the programme negotiated under the Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund in April 2001. India has had extensive involvement with the railway sector in Sri Lanka and currently Sri Lanka has sought Indian assistance for restructuring in the railway sector.

India’s acceptance of a further softening of terms of the Line of Credit of US$100 million already extended to Sri Lanka had been conveyed to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by the then Finance Minister of India (the present Minister for External Affairs) on June 10, 2002 in New Delhi. This relaxation was to have applied to the second and third tranches, the concessional terms being a 15-year repayment period, with a 5-year grace period. It was agreed today that the relaxation would be applied to the unutilized balance of the first tranche also. 

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the imminent commencement of flights to Bangalore by Sri Lankan Airlines, and stressed the need for further enhancing air links in the context of growing economic ties.

The Sri Lankan side expressed appreciation to the Government of India for its contribution of US$ 7.5 million to the Government of Sri Lanka for setting up an Indian Cancer Centre in Colombo, to work out the modalities for which a team would visit India shortly. 

Hon Yashwant Sinha would be meeting the President of Sri Lanka and senior Ministers and other dignitaries, during the course of the day. 

The interactions reflect the high priority attached by both countries to the maintenance of close and friendly ties based on mutual trust and understanding.

 

Colombo
July 12, 2002
 

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