President Rajapaksa participates in several programmes taking the close friendly relation between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to a new era. President Rajapaksa has yesterday, met political leaders as well as religious social activists in Bangladesh today.
The President who is on a three-day official visit to Bangladesh met Prime Minister Sheik Hasina. They had bilateral discussions. The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s office in Dhaka. The President commended the support given by Bangladesh in Sri Lanka’s endeavour to eliminate terrorism. He also thanked Bangladesh for the support given and was being extended to the defence sector. Prime Minister Sheik Hasina agreed to a request made by the President to provide the hair relics of the Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka
Thereafter the inking of four agreements and an agreement for an exchange programme took place. The signing of the agreements was carried out in the presence of the two leaders. Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris signed the agreements on behalf of Sri Lanka.
The agreement related to Education was signed by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid while the Fisheries agreement was signed by Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Abdul Latif Biswas. Thereafter an agreement was signed for a cultural, education and scientific programme. On behalf of Bangladesh it was signed by Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abudul Kalam Azad. The agreement related to agriculture was signed by Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury. An MOU was reached for trade promotion. The agreement was reached between the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka and the Export Promotion Board of Bangladesh. Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Farouk Khan signed this agreement. Leaders of the two countries expressed confidence that the agreements signed in relation to education, agriculture, fisheries, trade and culture would help further solidify friendly and state relations between the two nations. The media in Bangladesh described this as a new beginning in relations between the two countries. After the signing of these agreements, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister hosted a banquet in honour of the President and his entourage.
Last evening, the President paid floral tributes to the monuments put up in Dhaka in memory of heroes who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle of the country. The President thereafter planted a mango plant, the national plant of Bangladesh, within the premises. The President inspected trees planted by former Presidents J.R. Jayawardena and Chandrika Kumaratunga at the location. This morning, the President visited the Banga Bandu Museum put up in memory of Sheik Mujibhur Rahman. Mujibhur Rahaman is the father of Prime Minister Sheik Hasina. He was assassinated on August 15th 1975. 11 other members of the family were also killed in this incident. The President paid floral tributes to a portrait of Sheik Mujibhur Rahman.
Thereafter the President arrived at the International Bhawana Ashramaya. The President also laid a foundation stone at this location. After offering Ata Pirikara to the members of the Sangha, the President secured their blessings. He also had a cordial discussion with Sri Lankans who were present there. A lunch was hosted in honour of the President, the First Lady and the delegation by the Bangladesh Commerce and Industries Chamber. The Finance Minister of Bangladesh giving views on this occasion expressed his desire to take Sri Lanka’s economic policies as an example and provide satisfaction to the people of Bangladesh.