Strengthening economic and trade ties between Libya and Sri Lanka featured prominently in bilateral talks between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Libyan Head of State Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at the special venue for meetings with distinguished visitors at Sheri, Libya yesterday.
President Rajapaksa who is the first Sri Lankan Head of State to visit Libya apprised the Libyan leader of steps being taken to free the people of Sri Lanka from terrorism, and ensure the provision of humanitarian needs of the people of the North of Sri Lanka.
The Libyan leader was appreciative of the success and experience of Sri Lanka in defeating the world s most ruthless terrorist organization, which he considered an example to the entire world in the battle against terrorism.
Sri Lankan and Libyan delegations discussed the impact of the global economic crisis on the two countries.
They agreed on the need for cooperation to meet the challenges that lie ahead. President Rajapaksa mentioned the special impact on the tea industry in the current situation.
The Libyan leader agreed to provide more market access for Sri Lankan tea to Libya.
Colonel Gaddafi also agreed to explore possibilities to provide for 100,000 Sri Lankans to be employed in Libya in sectors such as health, construction and Information Technology.
Sri Lankan and Libyan leaders were glad of the opportunity afforded by this State visit by the Sri Lankan President to renew the friendship between them which began when Colonel Gaddafi last visited Sri Lanka for the 5th Non-Aligned Summit in 1976, when he met the Sri Lankan President as a Member of Parliament.
President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation had discussions on wide ranging aspects of cooperation between Libya and Sri Lanka at a meeting with the Libyan Prime Minister Dr. Baghdadi Al Mahmudi on Wednesday, shortly after the President s arrival in Libya.