Bangladesh has received a request from Sri Lanka on jute cultivation in its northwestern province Puttalam where Colombo assured of giving long-term lease of lands.
The request came in a meeting between Sri Lankan President Mohinda Rajapaksa and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina here today, reports BSS.
Sheikh Hasina is now in Colombo to attend Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM).
The Prime Minister expressed Bangladesh’s interest in extending cooperation in cultivating unused lands in the down-south and east and producing diversified agri products like jute, rice, vegetables, etc, PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said while briefing reporters after the meeting.
Sheikh Hasina said considering the shortage of agriculture workers and high costs of agricultural inputs in Sri Lanka, the private sector of Bangladesh may find it attractive to invest in Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector.
Both the leaders mentioned similar collaboration in the fisheries sector in the north of Sri Lanka, saying the Bangladesh private sector can restore a huge number of dilapidated waterbodies there for fish culture.
The Prime Minister extended her sincere thanks to the Sri Lankan President for excellent arrangement of the CHOGM and inviting her to the meeting.
Azad said both the leaders discussed various issues related to bilateral interests and ways of strengthening cooperation on several areas such as health, culture and education.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh authorities are actively considering a request of President Rajapaksa to donate “Sacred Hair Relic of Lord Buddha” to put the holy symbol on exhibition in Sri Lanka.
She said Bangladesh has always been consistent in supporting Sri Lanka’s fight against terrorism and insurgency. “Bangladesh views end of armed conflict as a welcome development for entire region,” she said.
Extending congratulations on holding provincial council election in the Northern Province after 25 years, the Prime Minister opined that it could be the beginning of Tamils’ participation in the country’s political process.
She expressed her firm conviction that greater efforts towards political settlement and reconciliation would lay the foundation of trust and confidence- building among communities and minority groups and enquired about Sri Lankan plans towards reconciliation initiatives.
President Rajapaksa thanked Sheikh Hasina for attending the CHOGM-2013 despite her extreme preoccupation at home due to the next general elections.
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Ambassador-At-Large M Ziauddin and Principal Secretary Shaikh Md Wahid-uz-Zaman and Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad were present.
Later, the Prime Minister in a meeting with her New Zealand counterpart John Key at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall expressed the hoped that the Commonwealth would advocate and promote the interests of developing countries.
She also hoped that the CHOGM-2013 could be an important input to the ongoing international discourse on post-2015 Development Agenda.
Sheikh Hasina opined that the Commonwealth needs to remain engaged with Fiji in the coming years as it looks forward to election in September 2014.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister also called for continued engagement of the good offices of the Commonwealth secretary general with the Maldives for consolidation of democratic institutions in this country.