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5th Round of the Sri Lanka – South Africa Partnership Forum: 24 February 2015

Accomplishing yet another landmark in the relations between  Sri Lanka and South Africa, the 5th round of the Sri Lanka – South Africa Partnership Forum  was convened on  24th February 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Session was  co-chaired by Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Ambassador Dr. Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.

The Partnership Forum discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere. The Forum comprehensively reviewed the gamut of bilateral relations, including trade, investment, science and technology, transport, tourism, agriculture, education, mutual legal assistance, cooperation between police services, defence cooperation, wildlife, cooperation between Zoological Gardens and people to people contact. Having expressed satisfaction on the significant progress made since the 4th Session in Pretoria, South Africa, in May 2013, the Partnership Forum reiterated its resolve to further intensify cooperation and take steps to achieve concrete results in the areas identified.

Recognizing the need to build a special trade and economic partnership framework to achieve shared goals, the two sides agreed to conduct a joint study for trade complementarities.  Both sides highlighted the importance of private sector involvement to further deepen and strengthen economic and trade linkages between the two countries.

Both sides identified Agro processing, steel and copper related products,  aqua culture, apparel and textiles,  IT and  IT enabled services and software development, ship repair and ship  and boat building industry, manufacture of automobile and spare parts as priority sectors for potential economic cooperation between the two countries.

The two countries initialed  the following  instruments:

(i)  Declaration of Intent in the Field of Sustainable Tourism Development

(ii) Memorandum of Understanding- between the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa andDepartment of National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka

The Heads of Delegations briefed the Forum on developments in the South Asian region, including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the South African Development Community (SADC). Additionally, a briefing on Sri Lanka’s role as Chair-in-Office and recent developments in the Commonwealth process was provided.

The two sides shared views on the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORA) in which the two countries are partners, with a view to support initiatives for enhancing cooperation on six priority areas; Maritime Safety and Security; Trade and Investment Facilitation; Fisheries Management; Disaster Risk Management; Academic and Science & Technology Cooperation; and Tourism and Cultural Exchanges.

It was agreed to convene the 6th Round of the Sri Lanka – South Africa Partnership Forum in South Africa in early 2017 on mutually convenient dates.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

24 February 2015