Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Sri Lanka requests Japan to resume power, road and port projects

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka invited Japan to resume investment in projects including power, roads and ports as the Japanese foreign minister wrapped up the first high-level visit to the crisis-hit country on Saturday in nearly four years.

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said his country was seeking Japanese investment in sectors such as power, infrastructure and dedicated investment zones, as well as in the green and digital economies.

He made this disclosure after his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa yesterday at the conclusion of his visit to the island nation.

We are confident that Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, which has made a promising start, and future growth prospects will provide us with greater opportunities to enhance the Japan-Sri Lanka relationship,” Sabry told a news conference.

He was joined by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who is in Colombo as part of a multi-country diplomatic tour including India, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia and the Maldives.

“I conveyed my expectations for further progress in the debt restructuring process and stressed the importance of a transparent and comparable debt restructuring that involves all creditor countries,” Hayashi said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa paid a courtesy call to President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on Saturday morning noting that President Wickremesinghe visited Japan twice during his first year in office symbolizes the deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries.

He also expressed his hope for further progress in the debt restructuring process and underscored the importance of a transparent and comparable debt restructuring that involves all creditor countries.

President Wickremesinghe vowed to take utmost care to ensure the transparency and comparability of the debt restructuring and reiterated his appreciation for Japan’s contribution to the discussions on debt restructuring.

Minister Yoshimasa stated that Japan attaches great importance to cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), which Sri Lanka will chair from October. In response, President Wickremesinghe welcomed Japan’s proactive contribution as the IORA chair.

The two sides also candidly exchanged views on bilateral relations, regional situations including East Asia, and cooperation on the economy.

.Ties improved in recent months after President Ranil Wickremesinghe appealed to Japan to help Sri Lanka weather the crisis, caused by economic mismanagement by successive governments, deep tax cuts and then the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan is Sri Lanka’s biggest bilateral lender after China, with about $2.7 billion in outstanding loans, according to finance ministry data. India is the third key creditor.

In a joint statement issued after holding discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ali Sabry, the visiting Japanese lawmaker also conveyed his expectations for further progress in the debt restructuring process.

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