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Saudi Arabia pledges support to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery

Colombo (LNW): Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva, received assurance from Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Khalid Hamoud Nasser Alkahtani, of Saudi Arabia’s support for Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic recovery efforts.

This was when a meeting was held between the two parties on November 6.

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador commended the rapid progress made by Sri Lanka’s shipping and aviation sectors in rebounding from a recent economic recession.

He pledged unconditional support through the Paris Club to assist Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process, currently overseen by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia’s historical bilateral and diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.

He acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s substantial contribution to Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange generation through employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in the kingdom.

Discussions also included the resumption of “Saudi Air” flights, the possibility of recruiting and deploying trained Sri Lankan seafarers to Saudi Arabian government shipping lines, and plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia on this matter.

Additionally, the Minister extended an invitation to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador for a group of Saudi academics to visit Sri Lanka.

The visit aims to evaluate the courses offered by the Mahapola Ports and Maritime Academy (MPMA) of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and other private sector universities in the shipping and naval sectors.

The Minister assured the Ambassador of Sri Lanka’s readiness to collaborate closely with Saudi Arabia in the fields of shipping, aviation, and foreign employment, and commended Saudi Arabia’s support for Sri Lanka’s socio-economic development.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, Mrs. Nayana Somaratne, also participated in the discussions.

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