23rd February 2011, www.gulf-times.com
HH the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will visit South Asian island republic of Sri Lanka later this year, according to a report in one of the English newspapers of that country yesterday.
Quoting Sri Lankan government sources, Colombo’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported that the Emir’s decision to visit Sri Lanka followed an invitation from the country’s President Mahinda Rajapakse, which he sent through his External Affairs Minister G L Peiris, when he visited Qatar a week ago.
Quoting official sources, the newspaper also reported that the two countries would establish a joint commission to develop bilateral ties in trade, investment, tourism and economic sectors.
When contacted, a senior official of Sri Lankan embassy in Doha confirmed the reports on the proposed visit of the Emir.
“Even though it is too early to say when the Emir would visit Colombo, it is certain that it would take place this year itself,” he said. It would take place at a time which is convenient to both the Sri Lankan government and the visiting delegation, the official added.
Answering a query, the embassy official said besides the Emir, the Sri Lankan external affairs minister had also met HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani and HE the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Sultan bin Hassan al-Dhabit al-Dossari.
The newspaper also said that Qatar had agreed to help to develop tourism in Sri Lanka.
It was also agreed to employ engineers and technicians from Sri Lanka in the works linked to the Fifa World Cup Football, which Qatar would host in 2022.
The local Sri Lankan embassy sources put the number of Sri Lankans in the country close to 95,000.
“This number is based on the records provided to the embassy by Qatar ministry of interior,” said the mission’s official.
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