Meeting with PM | UK to enhance relations with SL

Acting British High Commissioner Lisa Whanstall discussed a range of areas on which Sri Lanka and the UK could collaborate when she called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees last morning (26).

Conveying congratulatory wishes from the UK on the recent election victory, Acting High Commissioner Whanstall said: “The SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) has a very strong mandate,” and inquired about the Government’s priorities, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a media release.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said economic development is currently the main concern in the country as the world prepares for the post-Covid-19 years. Specifically, enhancing trade relations, promoting investments, especially in the SME (small and medium enterprise) sector, agriculture, and poverty eradication are priorities.

The Prime Minister also requested the High Commissioner to consider collaborations in the area of safe drinking water, noting the Government’s five-year objective to ensure every single Sri Lankan has access to safe drinking water.

The UK delegation also expressed interest to continue working with Parliament, including programmes for new parliamentarians with possible MP exchanges after the Covid-19 situation is under control. She further said that the UK Government and ministers are keen on maintaining relations with Sri Lanka despite the Covid-19 situation, through options like virtual meetings until visits are possible.

Acting High Commissioner Whanstall said UK’s International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena is also interested in further enhancing trade between the two countries and would like to discuss ease of doing business for mutual benefit.

The two delegations also spoke about the progress of the Port City while noting that Sri Lanka could use the benefit of its strategic location to attract investment. Other areas discussed included green finance, biodiversity, rural economy, and sustainable agriculture.