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Sri Lanka: Australia and Sri Lanka has signed a framework agreement for international trade & investment during the Australia Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Sri Lanka today morning for an official state visit.

Prime Minister Turnbull met President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during his short visit.

He arrived in the island while returning to Australia following visits to Israel and Palestine.

Press release issued by PM’s office

Discussions on improving the bi-lateral co-operation mechanisms between Australia and Sri Lanka were held when the visiting Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Temple Trees.

Prime Minister Turnbull admired the decision taken by the Sri Lankan Government towards establishing a Parliamentary Budgetary Office and assured Sri Lanka of Australia’s support towards the initiative. Premier Wickremesinghe informed his counterpart that the preliminary steps towards this have been taken and that the Hon. Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament would handle co-ordination with the Australian Government in this regard.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe further explained his vision towards making Sri Lanka a hub in the Indian Ocean, stressing on the need to maintain freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean. He pointed out that India, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia have already expressed their co-operation towards it.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added that China and India have extended support towards the development of Mattala and Hambantota while reiterating Sri Lanka’s participation in the One Belt One Road initiative of China.

The two Prime Ministers discussed the current status of affairs in the Maldives while laying emphasis on the support that could be extended towards holding free and peaceful elections in the country.

Premier Wickremesinghe also briefed his counterpart on the current status of the planned constitutional amendments in Sri Lanka.

Following a breakfast that the Australian Prime Minister highly commended, the two leaders discussed enhancing trade and investment potential between Sri Lanka and Australia. Ms Chandani Wijewardena Secretary – Ministry of Development Strategy and International Trade signed on behalf of Sri Lanka while the Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Brian Hutchison signed on behalf of Australia.

In attendance at the meeting were Ministers Malik Samarawickrema and SagalaRatnayaka, along with Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake. Mr Justin Bassi, the Australian National Security Advisor and the Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchison were also present.

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