FM Peiris meets Turkish Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Prof. G.L. Peiris met at the Turkish House, the Chancery building of the Turkish Permanent Mission in New York, on Friday (17), for a bilateral meeting between the two sides.
The two Foreign Ministers noted that it would be an opportune time to enhance further contacts by visits and interactions at other levels, to strengthen the excellent ties of friendship between the two countries, particularly economic and trade ties.
They further appreciated that despite being geographically far, bilateral trade between the two had steadily increased from US 100 Million and was projected to reach US 200 million within the year.
While expressing gratitude for Turkey's assistance in Sri Lanka's fight against COVID-19 with the provision of ventilators and other equipment, Foreign Minister Peiris highlighted that there was a need for Sri Lankan exports to Turkey to diversify from its 80% consisting of tea.
Highlighting Turkey's expertise in the construction and pharmaceutical industries, Peiris noted the tremendous potential for growth of investments in this regard, referring to Sri Lanka's interests in developing this area.
The two Ministers expressed interest to finalise important agreements on Avoidance of Double Taxation and on Investment Promotion and Protection, that could serve to provide opportunities for joint projects, investments and initiatives between both countries
Enhancing people-to-people contact was also discussed at the meeting, including possibilities of exploring air connectivity between Ankara and Colombo and exchanges between the respective Chambers of Commerce and business sectors.
Foreign Minister Peiris also expressed his condolences on the death of two Turkish nationals in Sri Lanka during the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks of 2019, and gave an update on the investigations and legal processes underway.
The two Ministers later discussed the need to confront terrorism in all its forms, and spoke against the politicization of human rights and selective use of human rights as tools by some parties, and pledged to expand international cooperation in the United Nations and other fora.
Recalling his fruitful two-day visit to Sri Lanka in 2016, Minister Çavuşoğlu noted that he was to visit Sri Lanka, but that the visit had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The two Ministers looked forward to expanding the friendly and close ties and expressed hope that further interaction may commence in the aftermath of the pandemic.