France is keen on establishing more people-to-people contact with Sri Lanka, through initiatives such as scholarship and exchange programmes. This was expressed by the Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka Eric Lavertu when he called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday.
The Ambassador mentioned that a number of Government sector employees are already pursuing advanced studies at French higher educational institutions and that the two countries could collaborate on more student exchange programmes.
In addition to France being “keen to be a part of the development of the Hambantota Port,” Ambassador Lavertu said that France is also in the market for more Sri Lankan products, indicating a potential to increase trade relations between the two countries. Both countries are keen to further bilateral trade and investment. Currently, Sri Lanka’s major exports to France include apparel, precious stones and pneumatic rubber tires.
During the courtesy call, the French Ambassador also congratulated the Prime Minister on the election victory and spoke highly about the Government’s handling of the pandemic. “We’re all in the same boat,” Ambassador Lavertu said while noting that the low COVID-19 related death rate in Sri Lanka is indicative of the good healthcare infrastructure that Sri Lanka has invested in throughout the years.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that the Government’s first priority is to deal with bringing the pandemic situation under control. Thereafter, the focus will be on economic development, the Prime Minister added.