Sri Lanka leader here next week

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Sri Lankan leader Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to meet President Duterte on 16 January. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will arrive in Manila next week for a four-day state visit, the first ever by a Sri Lankan leader serving as both head of state and government.

Upon the invitation of President Duterte, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will arrive on 15 January and will stay until 19 January.

The two leaders will meet on 16 January.

In a statement released Thursday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Mr. Duterte and Mr. Sirisena will hold bilateral discussions on areas of mutual interest, including political, economic, cultural and people-to-people engagement.

While in Manila, Sirisena is scheduled to visit the Asian Development Bank and the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, Laguna.

Sirisena’s visit, according to the DFA, is the first by a Sri Lankan president serving both as head of state and government under Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution.

It will also be the second visit by a Sri Lankan leader since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Manila and Colombo in 1961 when the Philippine government opened a legation in Colombo.

Sri Lanka had a Charge d’ Affaires level Mission, accredited to Japan and the relations were upgraded to the Embassy level in Manila and Colombo in 1961 and 1964, respectively.

On 1 March 1990, the Sri Lanka government decided to close down its embassy in Manila, while the Philippine government did the same for its embassy in Colombo on 30 June 1993.

Sirisena is scheduled to visit the Asian Development Bank and the International Rice Research Institute.

In September 1998, a Sri Lankan resident mission was reopened in Manila, with high priority given to coordinate aid and technical assistance programs to Sri Lanka from the ADB in Manila.

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