Sri Lanka leader on state visit to PHL

MALACAÑANG on Monday said the President Maithripala Sirisena of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is scheduled to arrive in Manila today, Jan. 15, for a five-day state visit to the country.

“On the invitation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will undertake a State Visit to the Philippines from 15 to 19 January 2019,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a press briefing.

He added: “President Sirisena will meet with President Duterte on 16 January 2019 in Malacañang Palace. Their bilateral discussions will focus on areas of mutual interest, including political, economic, agriculture, cultural and people-to-people engagement.”

Mr. Panelo also said Mr. Sirisena is expected to visit the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños.

“He is also expected to meet the Sri Lankan community in Manila,” the spokesman said further.

Mr. Panelo described Mr. Sirisena’s visit to Manila as “of historic significance.”

“Prior to that, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the only other Sri Lankan leader to visit, in 1976, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1961,” Mr. Panelo said.

The Philippines and Sri Lanka celebrated 57 years of diplomatic relations last year. According to the official website of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Manila, the two countries “have always enjoyed excellent relations based on mutual respect and shared values.” — Arjay L. Balinbin

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