Australia has welcomed Sri Lanka’s President, H.E. Hon. Maithripala Sirisena during his 24-26 May visit to Australia. With 2017 marking 70 years of diplomatic ties, the President joins Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and Deputy Foreign Minister de Silva, in visiting Australian this year.
The inclusion of visits to the National Arboretum and the Majura Park Solar farm in Canberra reflect to the President’s role as Environment Minister in the environment. At the Arboretum, President Sirisena planted a red cedar in the Central Valley. Found in both Sri Lanka and Australia, the red cedar joins tress planted by dignitaries and celebrities, including the Prince of Wales, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Australian rock legend, Jimmy Barnes.
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and President Sirisena met at Parliament House. Australia and Sri Lanka cooperate closely on security and defence matters, in particular shared efforts to countering people smuggling and enhancing regional security. Sri Lanka’s economic growth provides new and growing opportunities for Australian businesses.
To mark the visit – the first bilateral visit by a Head of State to either country – the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Sri Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva signed a Joint Declaration on Enhanced Cooperation. Governments also signed an MoU on Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) research and a Letter of Intent on geoscience. The CKDu MoU formalises our commitment to assist Sri Lanka in solving this serious public health crisis, while the Geoscience Letter of Intent encourage exchanges of mineral mapping expertise and professional development.
Governor-General, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), and Lady Cosgrove welcomed President Sirisena to Government House with an official reception following his meeting with Prime Minister Turnbull. Prominent Sri Lankans gathered at Government House to recognise Australia and Sri Lanka’s strong and enduring relationship.
President Sirisena also met Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne.
Following the CKDu agreement, President Sirisena’s final visit was to Australian National Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights Reactor, home of the OPAL research reactor and Australian Centre of Neutron Scattering.