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Latvia celebrates 94th National Day:

‘Scope for more investments between Sri Lanka, Latvia’

Trade and investment between Sri Lankan and Latvia are bound to strengthen in the future ahead as there are enormous scope and potential for such activities in the two countries, said Prof Tissa Vitarana, Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs at the 94th National Day of Latvia celebrations held in Colombo on Friday.

Minister Prof Vitarana said new avenues for cooperation have emerged between Sri Lanka and Latvia in addition to what has been developed in the past. Latvia has a very strong educational system particularly in the medical stream where medical institutions in Latvia were excellent and a lot of Sri Lankan students studying there.

“Beside education we need to strengthen ties in ares of trade and tourism. The land area of our countries are the same, 62,000 sq km.

But Latvia has one tenth the population of Sri Lanka. And one third is urban unlike in Sri Lanka, where we have two third living in rural areas. The capital of Latvia along has one third of its population. So there are similarities and differences.

Though, we have much in common, people are friendly, warm and we must try to strengthen our trade and investments in the future ahead as Sri Lanka is now after a period of conflict is developing the country and with a high literacy population there is a lot of potential for investments in Sri Lanka, I hope that trade and other ties will be strengthened between our two countries,” said the minister expressing hope that the cooperation between the Sri Lankan people and governments with Latvia will grow in the periods ahead.

Prof Vitarana added that formal diplomatic ties between the two countries was establish in 1996 and a Sri Lanka Latvian Parliamentary friendship Association as been formed in Latvia.

He said we lack behind in this aspect as we have not formed one yet in Sri Lanka and he expressed hope that one could be formed so that parliamentarians of both countries could get together and exchange views and share their cultures.

The minister conveyed his felicitations on behalf of Sri Lanka to Latvian President Andris Berzins ,government and the people of Latvia.

Thomas F Daetwyler, Consul General of Latnia said, “I greet you on this most significant day for Latvia, because it was November 18, 1918 when the newly independent state was born on the coast of the Baltic Sea in the very heart of Europe. Today Latvia marks 94 years of Independence. The relationship and trade between Sri Lanka and our country has constantly developed over the last years and we are further aiming to strengthen the ties between our town countries.

“The basis of our community is trust among European neighbours and trust in Europe, our joint project. This harks back to the open-minded cooperation which linked our ancestors for centuries way back in the heyday of the of the Hanseatic League. It is firmly based on the strength of shared values, not on the questionable law of the strongest.

“That said, this co-operation in Europe is not something we can take for granted, as the debt crisis reminds us. It has become a profound crisis of credibility and trust.The imbalances that have come about are not limited to those among the national economies of the euro zone. There is also a growing gap among the national debates on Europe. Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new split threatens to divide our continent, this time between north and south.

The successful reforms carried out in Lativa should encourage us to continue along the path. Beyond intelligent crisis management, we also have to conduct joint European debate on Europe's future. Not least, this will make it easier for us to overcome the challenges ahead.”

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