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Lanka continues to develop Lumbini, FM tells Nepal counterpart

The Government continues its efforts to develop Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha, in view of the immense socio-religious significance the place holds for Sri Lankans and Buddhists the world over. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said. Bogollagama said so when Nepal Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav called on him yesterday on the sidelines of the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the Boy of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.

The Nepal Foreign Minister while thanking the Sri Lanka Government noted that around 45,000 Sri Lankans visit Lumbini every year.

Both Foreign Ministers noted at the outset that delegations from the two countries have had the benefit of discussions on a regular basis which is an indication of the close bilateral relations. The Nepal side in particular noted that the regular interactions and visits at the Foreign Ministers' level have served immensely to augment the bilateral relationship.

The Nepal side thanked Sri Lanka for the extended cooperation in assisting the health and education sectors in Nepal. The two ministers emphasised the need for a private sector focus in further developing mutual links, especially in the trade and aviation sectors. It was agreed that both countries would convene a Sri Lanka-Nepal Joint Commission that would take stock of and serve to develop the whole spectrum of the bilateral relationship. The Joint Commission, which would be convened at the Ministerial level, would be the first ever Sri Lanka - Nepal Joint Commission. Foreign Minister Bogollagama briefed the Nepal Foreign Minister on the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in combating terrorism and bringing democracy to all parts of the country. He also outlined the efforts taken towards constitutional reforms through the All Party Representative Committee.

Minister Bogollagama on behalf of President Rajapaksa, conveyed an invitation for the Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal to undertake a State visit to Sri Lanka.

The Nepal Foreign Minister also conveyed an invitation, on behalf of the Prime Minister of Nepal, for President Rajapaksa to undertake a State visit to Nepal.

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