Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena discusses Sri Lanka’s bilateral cooperation with Cuban Ambassador

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The Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba in Sri Lanka, Juana Elena Ramos Rodriguez met Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Friday, 04 December at the Foreign Ministry. The meeting entailed discussion, inter alia, on potential areas of cooperation, including in the pharmaceutical and sugar cane industries, where Sri Lanka would benefit from Cuban expertise and technical assistance; and ongoing collaboration in the development of the coconut industry in Cuba through technical cooperation with Sri Lanka.

Recalling the commemoration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Cuba in 2019, the two sides welcomed collaboration between the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations of Sri Lanka (LKI) and the Raul Roa Garcia Higher Institute of International Relations in Cuba, as well as in higher education through scholarships offered to Sri Lanka for undergraduate study in Medicine by the Cuban Government. They also welcomed the MOU signed between the Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Cuba to enhance business ties.

Reference was also made to cooperation between Sri Lanka and Cuba in the multilateral sphere on issues of relevance, building on the traditionally warm and friendly bilateral relations. In this regard, the Foreign Minister extended his sincere appreciation to the Cuban Government for the consistent and unstinted support extended to Sri Lanka in multilateral fora, and the sentiments were reciprocated by the Cuban Ambassador.

Minister Gunawardena also conveyed his gratitude to the Cuban Government for the support extended to the Sri Lankan apparel industry at a critical time in May this year, through the dispatch of a Cuban medical team to look after the welfare of Sri Lankan employees in the Republic of Haiti. The Cuban Ambassador reflected on the effective containment of the Covid-19 pandemic by Sri Lanka and Cuba, and apprised the Foreign Minister on progress made so far by Cuba with regard to the development of a vaccine. She also expressed her profound appreciation for the support being extended by ‘friends of Cuba in Sri Lanka’ towards Cuban medical teams who extended yeoman service to the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In conclusion, Ambassador Rodriguez commended the Sri Lankan Government for its achievements in the political and socio-economic spheres since assuming office, in spite of the dire challenges posed by the global economic downturn.