Minister Rohitha Bogollagama calls on Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info)


The Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama made his first official visit out of the country after assuming duties as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, to India from 30-31st January 2007. During his visit, the Minister called on the Indian Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh and on the Hon. Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of External Affairs of India.

Mr. Bogollagama briefed the Indian leadership on the political process for a negotiated solution to the national issue, underway in Sri Lanka and the consensus in this regard that was now emerging. Mr. Bogollagama added that the strengthening of the Government in the Legislature, would facilitate the expediting of the political process. The Indian leadership was also briefed on the improved security situation in the Eastern Province and the firm efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka to resettle those temporarily displaced, as well as to cater to their needs. The Indian Prime Minister noted the information conveyed to him and reiterated India's commitment to the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

With regard to bilateral economic issues, Mr. Bogollagama stated that even during his previous Ministerial assignments, he had been a firm advocate of enhancing the trade and commercial relationship. The certain implementation issues pertaining to the Free Trade Agreement, including regarding the export of Vanaspati, had not in any way deterred him from this view. The President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Bogollagama said, has gone on record concerning his preference for the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by the middle of 2007. The Indian leaders for their part reaffirmed the commitment of their country for an early conclusion of the CEPA process, in a manner that would be mutually beneficial to both sides.

The Sri Lanka Foreign Minister referred during his discussions in Delhi to the important new area of economic engagement that would be shortly opened up for Sri Lanka, with the commencement of exploration for oil and gas in the Manner Basin. The Indian side appreciated Sri Lanka's offer of a block to India for such exploration. The Indian authorities stated that they were looking forward to commencing practical measures in this regard.

Minister Bogollagama also pointed out the need to expedite matters concerning financing from India for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the tsunami affected southern railway line from Colombo to Matara. He also noted the Indian interest in executing the project in an integrated manner.

Mr. Bogollagama emphasized that Sri Lanka being a close friend of India, the current administration in Sri Lanka would make every effort to carry forward the bilateral relationship, to ever greater heights.

The discussions were held in a spirit of cordiality and friendship. The Prime Minister of India felicitated Mr. Bogollagama on his assumption of office as Foreign Minister. He also stated that he is looking forward to receiving President Rajapaksa at the forthcoming SAARC Summit in New Delhi in April this year.

Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary/Foreign Affairs and Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India, Romesh Jayasinghe, also participated in the discussions.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

31 January 2007