Philippines seeks robust bilateral engagement with Lanka

The newly appointed Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Republic of the Philippines, Mrs. Aruni Ranaraja presented credentials to Benigno S. Aquino III. The ceremonies included  a honour guard at the Malacañan Palace  and wreath laying ceremony at the monument of  Dr. Jose P . Rizal , the Philippine National Hero. Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Minda Calaguian-Cruz, Assistant Secretary, Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs,  as well as Senior Officials of the Government of the Philippines were present at the ceremonies. Philippines President Benigno Aquino III says there is a need to revitalize the implementation of existing bilateral instruments with Sri Lanka and finalize early the ones being presently negotiated. At the discussions, the President referred to the warm bilateral relations between the Philippines and Sri Lanka which is based on mutual understanding and close cooperation covering political, economic and cultural relations. He reiterated the need to further elevate the existing cooperation and friendly ties between the two countries given the positive changes in the Political, Socio Economic Environments in both countries.  Ambassador Ranaraja thanked President for his kind sentiments, and conveyed to him greetings and best wishes of President Maithripala Sirisena, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, which were warmly reciprocated. The Ambassador briefed the President on the current political and economic developments in Sri Lanka following the Presidential Election in January 2015 and the General Elections on 17th August. While observing that the two countries reach the important milestone of 55 years of diplomatic relations in 2016, she conveyed Sri Lanka’s strong commitment to further elevate the existing close and friendly relations with the Philippines, with particular emphasis on the Political, Trade and Investment, Agriculture, Human Resources Development, sharing of knowledge and experience in the migrant workers, Maritime BPO/KPO outsourcing, Tourism, Aviation spheres and People to People contact. During the tete-a-tete which followed the Credential Ceremony, President Aquino III warmly welcomed Ambassador Ranaraja and wished her well in her assignment. The President, while appreciating the good cooperation and mutual support at multilateral fora, including elections, agreed on the need to revitalize the implementation of existing bilateral instruments and finalize early the ones being presently negotiated. President Aquino III noted the need to strengthen institutional mechanisms to facilitate a more robust bilateral engagement.  He also noted the need to strengthen institutional mechanisms to facilitate a more robust bilateral engagement.  Ambassador Aruni Ranaraja is a career diplomat with 19 years of service, having served in diplomatic assignments at Sri Lanka’s Embassies in Belgium and to the European Union, The Royal Kingdom of the Thailand, the  Russian Federation  and the Republic of Italy. She was the Director General for Africa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, prior to her present assignment. She holds Masters Degree in International Relations from the State University of Ukraine, Kiev and a past pupil of Mahamaya Girls Collage, Kandy.

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