President’s visit to Nepal for BIMSTEC Summit
August 3, 2018
PRESIDENT LEAVES FOR NEPAL- 29TH AUGUST
President Maithripala Sirisena left Colombo on 29th August to attend the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation in Kathmandu. The Presidents of Sri Lanka and Myanmar, the Prime Ministers of India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand and the Chief Advisor of the Bhutanese Government will be leading their respective delegations to the summit. The leaders are to adopt the 4th BIMSTEC Summit Declaration ‘Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region’ on 31 August upon the conclusion of the summit. At the conclusion of the summit, the Chairmanship of BIMSTEC will be handed over to Sri Lanka by the current Chair, Nepal. The summit, which also includes a retreat of the participating Heads of State and Government, will be preceded by the 16th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting and the 19th Session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting. The leaders will also witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the BIMSTEC Grid Inter-Connection at the summit.
During the preceding meetings, several initiatives under agreed priority sectors will be reviewed with a view to enhancing inclusive growth and economic prosperity in the BIMSTEC region. The priority sectors of cooperation in BIMSTEC include Trade and Investment, Technology, Energy, Transportation and Communication, Tourism, Fisheries, Agriculture, Cultural Cooperation, Environment and Disaster Management, Public Health, People to People Contact, Poverty Alleviation, Counterterrorism and Transnational Crimes and Climate Change.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), launched in 1997, bridges countries of South and South East Asia in the Bay of Bengal region. The Bay of Bengal region is home to 21 % of the global population with an average GDP growth of 6.5%.
PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN KATHMANDU
President Maithripala Sirisena arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. The President was received by the Nepali Deputy Prime Minister and DefenceMinister IshwarPokhrel and senior officials. A guard of honour was held inHonour of President Sirisena. Both sides of the road where the President is travelling decorated with the national flags of both countries displaying the relationship between the two countries during the past 60 years. Following this welcoming ceremony the President engaged in a cordial discussion with the Prime Minister of Nepal.
SRI LANKA & MYANMAR TO STRENGTHEN JOINT TRADE AGREEMENT
Leaders of Sri Lanka and Myanmar agreed to further strengthen the economic and trade relations between the two countries with a new approach while activating the Sri Lanka- Myanmar Joint Trade Agreement. These remarks were made when President Maithripala Sirisena, who is in Nepal to attend the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), met with President of Myanmar Win Myint in Kathmandu, (30). In 1999 Sri Lanka and Myanmar entered into this agreement to ease the trade activities between the two countries. Both leaders paid their attention to further strengthen the long standing bilateral relations between the two countries.
President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out that there are many similarities in Sri Lanka and Myanmar with both countries are being nourished with Theravada Buddhist philosophy and the economies of the two countries based on agriculture and said that this strong relationship between the countries could be easily built up. President Sirisena appreciated the steps taken by the President of Myanmar to strengthen democracy and further said that Sri Lanka, as a true friend of Myanmar, is ready to provide any assistance in international forums.
President Sirisena recalled about the programme of Aung San Suu Kyi who was a democratic leader and brought back memories of how he met her in the year of 2016. President Sirisena, referring to the program conducted to strengthen democracy said that he considered that it is one of his main duties to strengthen reconciliation and not to provide any space for an eruption of war again in the country. The President who was thankful to the President of Myanmar about the steps taken to give a baby elephant to the country in the year of 2015 after an appeal was made by him as the President, said that he named the baby elephant as “Pulatisi Raja” and offered it to the Dalada Maligawa which is the most sacred religious symbol of the country and requested the Mynamar President to see the elephant when he visit Sri Lanka.
President of Myanmar said that he is expecting to visit Sri Lanka as soon as possible. He referred to the strong bilateral ties shared between the two countries and expressed appreciation for the continuous asstiance provided to Myanmar by Sri Lanka. Both leaders discussed about how to uplift the cooperation in the fields of agriculture as two agriculture-based nations. Myanmar President who appreciated the program conducted by the Sri Lankan President to strengthen democracy and to make Sri Lanka a free and prosperous nation, assured that Myanmar would always be ready to give assistance to Sri Lanka at any time it is needed.
INDIAN PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENT HOLD TALKS
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said that he deeply appreciates the commitment made by the President Maithripala Sirisena to achieve reconciliation and sustainable peace while ensuring democracy and freedom in Sri Lanka. These remarks were made when President Maithripala Sirisena, who is in Nepal to attend the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), met with Indian Prime Minister in Kathmandu, (30). During this cordial discussion with the President, the Indian Prime Minister extended birthday wishes to the President as his birthday falls on September 03rd.
Prime Minister Modi said that the BIMSTEC will become a stronger organization under the leadership of President Sirisena, who is leader rich with experiences. The Indian Premier further said that through this new leadership BIMSTEC will receive an opportunity to achieve its objectives and goals.
PRESIDENT ADDRESSES BIMSTEC SUMMIT
Address by President Maithripala Sirisena at the 4th BIMSTEC Leaders Summit on 30th August 2018, Kathmandu, Nepal.
I am very happy that the BIMSTEC summit is very successfully held in Kathmandu, Nepal, which is one of our friendly countries. I take this opportunity to thank the organizers and the Prime Minister of Nepal for inviting me to this august forum, that renders important service to the member nations.In 2016, a BIMSTEC session was held in Gova in India. Today, we are meeting again today as the member states, with pleasure. Many issues our nations face today, as countries, regions and the world have many similar aspects. As friendly nations around the Bay of Bengal region, we have experienced many cultural, historical, economic affinities.
Most economic, political, and social challenges that our nations face today are common. Climate change is one of them that challenge many of our economic and development plans. Climate change makes poverty reduction even more difficult, and in fact, it aggravates poverty.
The menace of drugs is one a threat to the whole society. It is the menace of drugs and narcotics, heroine, hashish, marijuana and other drugs that are smuggled into the country mainly by sea. This has largely affected our youth and the school children.They hinder the development of our youth by undermining their education and knowledge.Illicit drugs have become the most serious challenge and they try to dominate world politics by toppling governments, patronizing politicians and governments favourable to them.
I urge the BIMSTEC members, Initiative, the world community, and all the states to commit themselves to fight illegal drugs trafficking collectively and individually through a robust international programme that is more organized and stronger than now.
As the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about the noble intentions of BIMSTEC, to ambitiously promote a Blue economy, it is important for us to free our societies from corruption, fraud, and misappropriation of state assets. We talk about a Green economy as well as a Blue economy. In all these, we must ensure that democracy, human rights, and freedom of media are upheld in whatever the political model we adopt. That is the wish of the people.
I am happy that during the last three and a half years since I became the President, democracy, human rights, rule of law and media freedom has been strengthened and independence of judiciary has been established. Institutions have been established to fight corruption. Actions were taken to punish those who are guilty of corruption, bribery and malpractices irrespective of their status of political affiliations. In order to achieve the noble goals of the BIMSTEC, I stress on the need to be strongly committed to strengthen these sectors.
It is also important to make development inclusive and progress in free education and health, agriculture, tourism, and all other major contributors to the economy. It is important, therefore, as members of BIMSTEC, that all nations find consensus on the what suits our region best in carrying out the unique economic, political and social development agendas of our nations. The BIMSTEC regional bloc is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Sri Lanka, as an Island Nation wishes to make maximum use of the ocean with new light on ocean research, tourism, fisheries and marine resources.
BIMSTEC is a multi-functional organization that synergizes our efforts to achieve many goals. I do not think that BIMSTEC should not be limited only for cooperation in certain areas. We can identify and agree on a common agenda for our region taking into consideration, the many challenges that our nations face today, at national, regional and international levels.
BIMSTEC has vast experience and strength acquired over the past 20 years, and that could be fully utilized for meeting the challenges faced by the Bay of Bengal community. This organization prospers as it is based on the determination and mutual trust among us. The political and diplomatic leaders gathered here today have the knowledge, experience and the maturity it takes to for our collective success in this world, that reshaped by myriad technological advancements. I take this opportunity to call on my respected fellow leaders to give fullest support and continued cooperation to achieve the set targets and goals of BIMSTEC for the benefit of all our peoples.
Each of us have unique cultural heritage, civilization, and a rich history that inform and enrich our future development agendas. The BIMSTEC provides a strong support to these ambitious paths.
In conclusion, I express my pleasure and thank you, on behalf of the people and the government of Sri Lanka, as we stand together at BIMSTEC to achieve our the noble goals.
May the Noble Triple Gems Bless You.
SRI LANKA THE NEW BIMSTEC CHAIR
The Chairmanship of the 5th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena. The 4th Summit of the BIMSTEC commenced yesterday in Kathmandu, Nepal and today during the conclusion of the summit the new Chairmanship of it was handed over to the Sri Lankan President. Accordingly, the 5th Summit of the BIMSTEC will be held in Sri Lanka.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia -Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia -Myanmar and Thailand. The objective of building such an alliance was to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation in different areas of common interests by mitigating the onslaught of globalization and by utilizing regional resources and geographical advantages.
President Sirisena delivering a special statement after accepting the new Chairmanship said that he will take forward the functions of the Summit with a clear agenda. The President further said that the assistance of all the member states is expected to achieve those goals and extended his gratitude to the government of Nepal for holding the 4th Summit of the BIMSTEC in a highly successful manner as well as for the warm welcome given to him and his delegation. All the state leaders extended their best wishes to the President for his new appointment as the Chairman of the BIMSTEC and they expressed confidence that the functions of the BIMSTEC will move forward with strength under the leadership of the President Sirisena.
The conclusion of the summit was held under the patronage of President of Nepal. Foreign Ministers of the BIMSTEC member states signed the MoU on the establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. Later, the Kathmandu Declaration was launched.
BIMSTEC LEADERS AT A RECEPTION
A reception for all the State Leaders who attended the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kathmandu. The President of Nepal and his spouse warmly welcomed all the State Leaders. The reception which was attended by all the leaders including the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Myanmar’s President Win Myint, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha warmly welcomed President Sirisena.
PRESIDENT ATTENDS NEPAL SRI LANKA TRADE AND INVESTMENT CONFERENCE
President Maithripala Sirisena participated in the Nepal Sri Lanka Trade, Tourism, and Investment Conference held in Katmandu. The Institute for Strategic and Socio-economic Research of Nepal organized this event where detailed discussions were held to increase the cooperation between fields of trade and tourism and investment that can benefit both countries. State Minister Wasantha Senanayake, Nepali Ministers and experts were present at the event. Meanwhile President Sirisena engaged in a discussion with the Chairmen of Institute for Strategic and Socio – Economic Research of Nepal.
PRESIDENT WORSHIPS LUMBINI
President Maithripala Sirisena who attended the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation held in Kathmandu, Nepal, commenced his two-day state visit to Nepal with the conclusion of the Summit. President Sirisena marking his first programme worshipped several religious places including the magnificent Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama. The Chief Minister of the province and the Minister of the Culture warmly received the President when he arrived at the venue.
Later, the President engaged in religious observances and the authorities had made arrangements for the Sri Lankan President to worship the sacred area where the Prince Siddhartha took his first step forward after the birth, by touching the place. This is an exceptional opportunity that no other state leader will receive when visiting the Lumbini. Ven. Galahapitiya Premaratana Nayaka Thero, the Trustee of the Lumbini Sri Lanka Maha Viharaya did the religious observances and invoked the blessing on the President and the delegation.
Later, the President informed the officers to apprise him regarding the development activities done by the Lumbini Development Foundation and further said that he is ready to provide every possible assistance in this regard. Later, President Sirisena worshipped the Maya Devi Temple located in the premises of the sacred Lumbini. A special memento was presented to the President at the temple. Subsequent to that, the President visited the Sri Lanka Maha Viharaya located in the premises of the sacred Lumbini. The President also paid homage to the sacred relics placed at the temple. During this visit the President made an observational tour of the Dutugamunu Pilgrims Rest which is constructed for the benefit of visiting Sri Lankan devotees and inquired into the shortages at the Rest. A Na sapling was planted at the premises to mark the visit of the President. Meanwhile, the President also joined the religious observances at the Pashupatinath famous sacred Hindu kovil yesterday.This temple complex was placed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ list in 1979.
NEPAL PM PLEDGES TO CONTINUE CLOSER & STRONGER RELATIONS
Leaders of Sri Lanka and Nepal agreed to work in mutual cooperation for the benefit of the people in both countries while building close and strong relations between the two countries. President Maithripala Sirisena, who visited Nepal to attend the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, met with the Prime Minister of Nepal K.P Oli. President Sirisena was warmly received by the Nepali Prime Minister when he arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office in Kathmandu. A Bilateral meeting between the two countries commenced after the cordial discussions between the two leaders. The leaders paid their attention to further promote bilateral relations between the two countries in all the sectors. They also discussed regarding the ways as how to improve relations in the fields of trade and investment as well as tourism while improving active functioning of the Joint Commission between the two countries. President Sirisena drew the attention of the Nepali Prime Minister regarding expanding facilities for the visiting Sri Lankan devotees to the Lumbini. Both leaders pledged to closely work in the international forums and agreed to work in more cooperation in the regional activities.
During this meeting, both leaders specially discussed in detail regarding the activities of the BIMSTEC organization and the Prime Minister of Nepal extended his best wishes for President Sirisena for his new appointment as the Chairman of the BIMSTEC and said that he will provide his fullest assistance to fulfill duties of this position in a successful manner. The Nepal Prime Minister said that he is confident that as an experienced and matured politician President Sirisena will be able to handle the future activities of the BIMSTEC in a strong and meaningful manner. The President extended his gratitude to the government of Nepal for holding the 4th Summit of the BIMSTEC in a highly successful manner as well as for the warm welcome and hospitality given to him and his delegation.
SRI LANKA –NEPAL PRESIDENTS MEET
President Maithripala Sirisena who commenced a state visit to Nepal after conclusion of the BIMSTEC Summit met President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bandhari. President Maithripala Sirisena who went to Shithal Niwas was warmly welcomed by the President of Nepal. The Nepal President who appreciated President Mithripala Sirisena’s visit to Nepal bought back the memories of the economical, political and cultural ties and the warm relationship shared by two countries. She congratulated President Sirisena for becoming the new Chairman of BIMSTEC and said that she would provide any assistance in order to make the BIMSTEC goals achievable and for a successful tenure. The two leaders discussed about strengthening the bonds between the fields of marine, agriculture, and tourism between Nepal and Sri Lanka. resident of Nepal who brought back the memories of her visit to Sri Lanka to participate in the International Vesak Day 2017 mentioned the warm welcome she received. The Nepal President referred to the five President Scholarships given to Nepal by Sri Lanka annually and was thankful to the President on behalf of it. President of Nepal said that she expects to improve standards of the Lumbini Gautama Airport so that it can be accessed to international flights to facilitate Buddhist devotees to visit directly to worship the sacred sites in Lumbini. President Maithripala Sirisena mentioned that the Lumbini Trusteeship Fund on behalf of developing the temples of Sri Lanka in Nepal will be fully supported by the government.
Two memorandums of understandings were signed after the meeting of the state leaders of the two countries. The memorandum of understanding for training the government officers of Sri Lanka was signed by the Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Nepal and the Ambassador of Sri Lanka W. Swarna Perera. The memorandum of understanding for the development of youth was signed by Ambassador of Sri Lanka Ms. Perera and the Secretary of Ministry of Sports of Nepal. A banquet was organized by the President of Nepal in honour of the President and the delegation.
PRESIDENT VISITS THE SAARC SECRETARY GENERAL
President Maithripala Sirisena met Secretary General Amjad Hussain B Sial at the Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Kathmandu. The President was warmly received by Mr Sial and SAARC Directors and later there were discussions on matters related to regional cooperation. The Secretary General thanked the President for the support extended by Sri Lanka for all the efforts to enhance South Asian cooperation. President Sirisena emphasized the need for strengthening cooperation between the countries of South Asia and said that he visited the SAARC Secretariat to show his respect for SAARC. He added that Sri Lankan would continue to support every endeavour to strengthen South Asian cooperation. The President posed for a photograph with the SAARC officials and observed the functioning of the Secretariat. He planted a sapling to mark his visit and made an entry in the Visitors Book.
PRESIDENT MEETS SRI LANKANS LIVING IN NEPAL
A friendly meeting between the Sri Lankans living in Nepal and President Maithripala Sirisena, who was in Nepal to participate in the fourth BIMSTEC Summit, was held in Kathmandu. President Sirisena, who was warmly welcomed by the Sri Lankans engaged in a friendly conversation with them. They congratulated the leader for being honoured as the new Chairman of BIMSTEC and expressed gratitude to the President for the efforts taken to uplift the motherland in the international arena. The Sri Lankan experts, professionals, university students and others living in the country were present at this event.
Meanwhile the President engaged in worshiping the first Theravadi Buddhist Temple of Kathmandu city Ananda Kuti Viharaya, where a brief ceremony was held to welcome the President. President Sirisena meeting the chairmen of Nepal Bhikku Sangha Sabha Ven. Maithri Maha Thero obtained blessings, while the mahasangha chanted pirith and blessed the President. The Ananda Kuti Buddhist Temple is the first Buddhist temple of Nepal where the first Nepal Sri Lanka ties were established through that temple in the year of 1931. The temple was destroyed in an earthquake in 2015 is being reconstructed under the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena, with the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan government, The construction commenced in the month of May 2016 where it is scheduled to complete the work by December this year. The reconstructions are conducted by the Sri Lanka Army where it us estimated that at least Rs300 million will be spent on this. The supervision of those constructions will be conducted by the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Department of Archaeology, and the High Commission of Nepal for Sri Lanka.
PRESIDENT RETURNS AFTER SUCCESSFUL VISIT TO NEPAL
President Maithripala Sirisena, who has been selected as the Chairman of the 5th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), returned to the Island yesterday (02) after completing a successful state visit to Nepal and attending the 4th Summit of the BIMSTEC held in Kathmandu.
A special ceremony was organized at the Bandaranaike International Airport to receive the President who arrived in the country as the new Chairman of the 5th Summit of the BIMSTEC. President Sirisena who reached at the Bandaranaike International Airport around 10.20 p.m. escorted to the VVIP lounge on the red carpet. Later, Seth Pirith chanted by Mahasangha to invoke blessings on the President and other religious rituals were also held to invoke blessings on the President. A large number of Ministers and MPs were present at the Airport to receive the President. President Sirisena left the country on last 29th to attend the 4th Summit of the BIMSTEC held in Nepal.