The First Session of the Sri Lanka – Saudi Joint Commission which was formed under the framework agreement that the two countries signed in 2003 was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 21 to 23 May 2023.
The State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya along with the Vice Minister of Human Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Abu Thunain co-chaired the Joint Commission.
The Joint Commission during its two-day proceedings deliberated vital areas of cooperation, ranging from trade, economics, environment, investment, foreign employment, energy, finance, transport, communications, agriculture, education, sports, humanitarian work, culture, judicial matters, and security. At the conclusion, the two ministers signed the outcome document which detailed the follow-up action in the agreed points of discussion.
Delivering the opening remarks at the Joint Commission, State Minister Balasuriya mentioned that the bilateral relations will be further strengthened based on the successful deliberations of the Joint Commission.
Expressing the hope that the outcome would open new vistas for investment and diversification of economic and employment prospects, the State Minister thanked Saudi Arabia for the generous hospitality accorded to the delegation and the constructive discussions held.
During the visit, the State Minister Balasuriya and Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Al Elkheriji signed the MoU on Political Consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. The MoU provides a platform for both countries to discuss matters of mutual interest regularly. The two ministers also recalled the excellent cooperation between the two countries in the international arena.
The State Minister further commended the leadership and the humanitarian assistance provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to evacuate nationals of many countries, including 32 stranded Sri Lankans from the Republic of the Sudan recently.
The State Minister also delivered a keynote address at the business meeting organized by the Sri Lanka Professional Association (QS Chapter) with a view to exploring opportunities for the Sri Lankan construction sector in development projects in the Kingdom. The B2B meetings organized by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce provided opportunities for the visiting Sri Lankan business delegation to find potential business partners.
The delegation for The First Session of the Sri Lanka – Saudi Joint Commission comprised senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Investment Promotion, Ministry of Technology and the Colombo Port City Economic Commission and was assisted by the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia P. M. Amza and the Mission officials.