Sri Lankan leader’s first visit to Gulf country


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, has invited President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to visit the country. The Crown Prince has affirmed his expectations for expanding the bilateral relations between the UAE and Sri Lanka. The two parties have agreed that this visit would be a great opportunity to discuss the common interests of the two nations.

Our President, in his positive response to the invitation, has tweeted:  ‘I was honored to receive an invitation from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan @MohamedBinZayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi & Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to visit #UAE, towards strengthening bilateral relations & pleased to have accepted same.’

I am extremely pleased to see that this is finally happening, one of our Sri Lankan leaders visiting a Gulf country for the first time. I would be keen to see him in the other Gulf member countries, too, especially in Saudi Arabia, where a large number of Sri Lankan expatriates are employed. Currently, our largest foreign exchange earning is coming to the country from the Lankan expatriates in the Gulf. I am really overjoyed by the President’s acceptance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s invitation, and thank our President for fulfilling my 45-year-old dream, here in the Gulf. During this period, I have seen practically almost all the world leaders visiting the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where the next G20 meeting is to take place in October this year, but strangely, none of our past leaders have ever thought of the importance of it. So, thank you Mr. President for taking up this visit. Our country has a lot to gain by this, no doubt, and by extending it later to other Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. You will be most welcome here by all.


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