Norway and Sri Lanka have renewed their commitment to revitalize the relationship between both countries, the Foreign Ministry said today.
The commitment was made during the just concluded visit to Sri Lanka by the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.
The Prime Minister commenced a two-day official visit on 12 August 2016. This official visit took place in her dual capacity as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway as well as co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocacy Group, an appointment made by the UN Secretary- General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
Prime Minister Solberg had bilateral discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena on 12 August and she also called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan.
“The official visit of the Norwegian Prime Minister to Sri Lanka reflects the renewed commitment of Sri Lanka and Norway to revitalize a relationship spanning over 65 years. The Prime Minister’s visit follows on the initiatives of Foreign Minister Børge Brende and Norway’s State Secretary Tore Hattrem during their visits to Sri Lanka in January and May-June 2016 respectively, and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s visit to Oslo in June 2016,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The discussions held on 12 August focused on strengthening ties between the two countries in all spheres, especially economic and technical cooperation. Norway has agreed to assist Sri Lanka develop its fisheries sector to increase productivity and sustainability.
Ways to further advance the bilateral economic agenda by diversifying areas of cooperation in tourism, aquaculture, renewable energy and education were also discussed. The Norwegian Pension Fund (Sovereign Wealth Fund), which has already invested US$31million in different sectors in Sri Lanka, was invited to further invest in emerging new avenues.
Prime Minister Solberg commended the progress made by Sri Lanka in advancing political and economic reforms and advancing reconciliation since January 2015, including the successful passage of the Office on Missing Persons Bill.
President Sirisena, while apprising Prime Minister Solberg of developments in Sri Lanka since January 2015, thanked Norway for being a longstanding and steady development cooperation partner through NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) since 1977. President Sirisena congratulated the Norwegian Premier on her appointment as co-chair of the Advocacy Group on the SDGs. The two leaders discussed cooperation in multilateral fora and ways to move forward the SDGs agenda.
In the evening of 12 August, Prime Minister Solberg delivered the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture 2016 on the theme ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Working together for our Common Good’.
Yesterday she visited the Mirissa Fishery Harbour, and then proceeded to visit the Galle Fort.