18th February 2011, www.dailynews.lk
A strong foundation exists for a significant expansion of the investment and trade relationship between Sri Lanka and the State of Qatar with the eradication of terrorism and the establishment of stability, External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris said at his audience with Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani at the Emiri Diwan in Doha.
The Emir recalled his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September last year in New York.
The Emir welcomed the opportunity to work with Sri Lanka in the new situation. Minister Peiris said a treaty for the avoidance of double taxation has been signed by the two countries, and discussions were initiated to establish Joint Commission and the provisions of a proposed investment agreement.
The two sides agreed to work together towards rapid implementation. They also discussed a proposal for a multi-purpose storage facility in Colombo for liquid natural gas, of which Qatar is the largest producer in the world, for trans-shipment purposes, skilled employment from Sri Lanka and a range of issues connected with food security.
The Emir offered assistance with regard to Hi-Tech projects.
The Emir said Sri Lanka is considered a suitable destination for investment.
Minister Peiris held a discussion with Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir Al-Thani at the Prime Minister's Office. Tourism was identified as a promising area for collaboration and a joint project was to be formulated.
Plans were discussed to bring about closer interaction between the Chambers of Commerce in the two countries.
Prof Peiris also met Social Affairs Minister and Acting Labour Minister Nasser bin Abdullah Al-Humidhi.
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