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SL seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia in key sectors to support Vision 2030

May 28, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka aims to enhance collaboration with Saudi Arabia in tourism, labour, and renewable energy to align with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Arab News reported, citing comments from the island nation’s newly appointed ambassador in Riyadh, Omar Lebbe Ameer Ajwad.

Ajwad, a seasoned diplomat with 26 years of experience, previously served as ambassador in Oman and Yemen, as well as acting high commissioner in Singapore and deputy high commissioner in Chennai, India.

One of his early roles was deputy chief of mission at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh.

Ajwad expressed his support for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and highlighted Sri Lanka’s intention to contribute to the Kingdom’s transformative and diversification efforts.

“Sri Lanka seeks to partner with Saudi Arabia in this transformative journey. My primary focus will be on promoting economic diplomacy,” he said.

Celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations this year, both nations are positioned for greater connectivity and deeper economic cooperation.

Ajwad emphasised the potential for collaboration in key sectors identified in Saudi Arabia’s diversification plans, such as tourism, transportation, logistics, and renewable energy.

Sri Lanka aims to engage with Saudi megaprojects like the NEOM smart city. Ajwad noted that Sri Lankan workers could support various aspects of NEOM’s construction, engineering, and service industries, particularly in renewable energy, agriculture, and IT development.

Saudi Arabia remains a significant destination for Sri Lankan workers, contributing substantially to foreign remittances for Colombo. Ajwad highlighted Sri Lanka’s expertise in sustainable and eco-tourism, which could benefit NEOM’s hospitality sector.

To foster stronger ties, Ajwad plans to enhance engagements between Saudi and Sri Lankan public and private sectors through political consultations and the establishment of a bilateral business council.

He believes these platforms will facilitate information flow, networking, and follow-up, promoting greater cooperation between the two countries.

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