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Sri Lanka and Palestine strengthen ties

Sri Lanka has strengthened its relationship with Palestine following a Sri Lankan delegation visit, led by Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday.

The Sri Lankan President met with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine, at the Presidential Palace in Ramallah where he was awarded the ‘Star of Palestine’, the highest honour award by the Palestinian state.

A Sri Lankan press release described the meeting as “friendly and warm”, and went on to quote Abbas as telling Rajapaksa,

"I am honored to receive you… Our two countries maintain good relations and I wish it will improve more and more".

He went on to add that Palestine was “very grateful” for Sri Lanka’s support in the international arena.

Rajapaksa was also quoted by the press release as saying,

"Sri Lanka will always support your cause... We hope that we will have an independent Palestine as soon as possible".

"Relations between our two countries get stronger year after year."

He then reportedly told the Palestinian President how Sri Lanka had made “significant progress in terms of reconstruction, resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and reconciliation”, and how “that there has been no single terrorist incident reported in Sri Lanka since 2009”. Rajapaksa also praised his own government for releasing “rehabilitated child soldiers”.

See the full press release here.

The two countries then signed an Agreement on Establishment of Sri Lanka-Palestine Joint Commission and the signing of the MoU on Establishment of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Vocational Training Centre, which was opened in Betunia, Ramallah.

Rajapaksa then took to Twitter to post a photo of a Ramallah road named after him.

The road was originally named after the Sri Lankan President in 2007 on Rajapaksa’s 62nd birthday. The then Palestinian Ambassador to Sri Lanka sent Rajapaksa his birthday greetings, adding "under your able guidance Sri Lanka will see an era of peace and prosperity".

Also see our earlier posts:

Mahinda to receive 'Star of Palestine' (04 January 2014)

Palestinian minister to visit SL (07 April 2013)

Sri Lanka champions the Palestinian cause (20 March 2013)

Peiris visits Israel and Palestine (02 March 2013)

Mahinda congratulates Palestine (04 December 2012)

Sri Lanka extends ‘steadfast support’ to Palestinian people (26 September 2012)

Abbas hails Rajapaksa's success, Palestinian ties to Colombo (16 April 2012)

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