Philippines, Sri Lanka vow to further strengthen ties
The Philippines and Sri Lanka have agreed to further enhance their cooperation as the two nations marked 60 years of diplomatic relations.
The commitment to boost the two countries’ ties was made in a telephone conversation between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held on Monday, June 28, Malacañang said.
“Over the last six decades, we have pursued fruitful relations. We look forward to sustaining this and exploring further the full potential of our cooperative ties,” Duterte said, as quoted in a Malacañang statement on Wednesday.
The President also thanked the Sri Lankan government for assisting in the repatriation of Filipinos amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the safe return of Filipino seafarers from the oil tanker MT New Diamond that caught fire in Sri Lanka in September 2020.
The said incident led to the death of one Filipino crew member while another one was injured. The tanker’s 23 crew members comprised 18 Filipinos and five Greeks.
Meanwhile, Rajapaksa thanked Duterte for the “cooperation and mutual support between Sri Lanka and the Philippines in multilateral venues, including the United Nations Human Rights.”
The Sri Lankan President invited Duterte to visit Sri Lanka to which the latter responded he is “looking forward to undertaking such visit when the global situation normalizes.”
Malacañang said the two leaders also committed to exploring new opportunities for cooperation in the areas of security and defense, trade and investment, labor migration, and tourism.
Duterte and Rajapaksa also agreed that combatting COVID-19 is a shared responsibility and an opportunity to work in solidarity with all nations.