President returns from Philippines

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President Maithripala Sirisena who was on a five-day official visit to the Philippines has returned to Sri Lanka, last night (19).

President Sirisena arrived in Manila on Tuesday night (15) on an official invitation from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the Sri Lankan leader’s historic visit, the two leaders signed five agreements, including pacts on agriculture, education cooperation and military exchanges.

“We have agreed on several concrete initiatives to deepen our relations. Along with President Duterte, I and my Government will ensure that these initiatives will be implemented in order to harness the maximum [benefit for] people of both countries,” Sirisena said during their meeting.

Sirisena also hailed President Duterte’s drug war, saying the campaign is a personal example to him.

“Excellency, the war against crime and drugs carried out by you is an example to the whole world, and personally to me. Drug menace is rampant in my country and I feel that we should follow your footsteps to control this hazard,” he said.

Before his departure, the Sri Lanka President met with police officials at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for a briefing on the Philippines’ war against drugs.

His visit marks the first time a foreign head of state set foot at the police camp.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Sirisena’s visit to the headquarters was “fruitful and productive.”

“He [Sirisena] said ‘we have the same problem.’ He did not specify how severe their drug problem is,” Albayalde told reporters.

The Sri Lankan government last year said it would “replicate the success” of the Philippines’ drug war.