Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to open High Commission in Seychelles this week
During the state visit to Sri Lanka, President Rajapaska and President Michel in Colombo, 21 August 2012 (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be arriving in the Seychelles on Friday June 27, on a three day official visit, the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed in a press statement issued this afternoon.
“As part of his programme, President Rajapaksa will call on President James Michel and also ceremonially open the Sri Lankan High Commission in Seychelles, as well as offices of the Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka Insurance, Mihin Lanka and the Nawaloka Medical centre,” reads the MFA statement.
This is Rajapaksa’s second visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago following his state visit in June last year. It comes seven months after Seychelles President James Michel attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka in November last year. Michel went to Sri Lanka on a state visit in August 2012.
“President Rajapaksa’s present visit to Seychelles cements the close relations between the two countries and demonstrates Sri Lanka’s active engagement with Seychelles as a resolute partner in bilateral relations,” says the statement.
“The visit also highlights the importance of President Rajapaksa's State Visit to Seychelles last year; whereby the positive effects of the Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements initialed are coming to fruition.”
Sri Lanka 's new high commissioner to Seychelles accredited
Sri Lanka will open its first diplomatic mission in Seychelles on Saturday, following the accreditation of the first resident Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Seychelles yesterday.
After almost 26 years of diplomatic relations, established on October 3, 1988, Rajatha Piyatissa presented his credentials to Seychelles President James Michel as the new resident High Commissioner.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Seychelles Rajatha Piyatissa presenting his credentials to Seychelles President James Michel on Tuesday (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles Nation) Photo License: Attribution-NonCommercial
He told the local press that he is 'ready for the challenge' ahead; to lead the Sri Lankan High Commission in Seychelles and see more cooperation programmes developed.
The diplomatic office will be based in the Capital City building in the centre of the Seychelles capital of Victoria, the same building which houses the Sri Lankan Bank of Ceylon, which started operating in January this year. .
Trade and investment are i some of the areas which Piyatissa said he would be focusing on during his mandate, areas of cooperation he says would be beneficial to both countries.
“I see a lot of trade relations we can have, because Seychelles has a lot of resources and some of them are not being fully utilized. Sri Lanka has the expertise especially when it comes to coconut, cinnamon and in tourism industry. So our expertise and with our resources, together will be beneficial for our countries,” he said.
Guard of honour saluting the new resident Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Seychelles, Rajatha Piyatissa upon arrival at State House on Tuesday (Mervyn Marie, Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY
Sri Lanka’s move to set up a mission in Seychelles follows recent state visits by the presidents of the two states.
During President Michel’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2012, the heads of state of the two Commonwealth member nations witnessed the signing of agreements in various fields such as health, labour and education.
During Rajapaksa’s visit to Seychelles last year at a time the two countries signed more bilateral agreements.
Since then, the agreements have started to materialize for example there has been increased cooperation in fisheries as well as the opening of air access, with Sri Lanka’s airline Mihin Lanka now flying to Seychelles.