28 April 2011

Vietnam Opens Embassy in Sri Lanka after 30 Years

27th April 2011, www.dailymirror.lk, By Dianne Silva

The Ambassador designate from Vietnam Ton Sinh Thanh handed over his credentials to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last morning. The Embassy has been reopened in Sri Lanka after a lapse of almost 30 years.

“We had an embassy in Sri Lanka in the 70’s, but had to close it down due to the terrorist situation. But we have reopened the Embassy since both Sri Lanka and Vietnam are in a new era—where the war is over in Sri Lanka and Vietnam has developed rapidly,” Ton Sinh Thanh told the Daily Mirror.

The Ambassador extended support towards Sri Lanka in the wake of the release of the report by the Panel of Experts appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. “The international community should support Sri Lanka in the reconstruction and reconciliation of the country. Further the post war issues of Sri Lanka should be solved by the Sri Lankan people themselves without interference from other countries. The UN can play an active role in this process of reconstruction and reconciliation,” he said.

“Vietnam and Sri Lanka have always supported each other in the international arena and we will continue this support,” he added.

He further said he hoped to increase interaction between the two countries in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture.

“Trade between the two countries is growing very fast and in the past year it had increased by more than 50 per cent, from 60 million USD to 90 million and I hope to increase this figure very soon,” he said.

He added that the two countries could share experiences on attracting investment into their countries. “There is over 190 billion USD invested in Vietnam in over 120 projects and this expertise of drawing in investment can be shared with Sri Lanka. Vietnam can also invest in Sri Lanka in the areas of fisheries, oil and gas exploration and construction,” he said.

These areas had been discussed during Ton Sinh Thanh’s meeting with the President. “The President welcomed these areas of cooperation between the two countries and said he would extend fullest support towards the activities of the Embassy,” he explained.

Speaking on the cultural integration between the two countries he said the many similarities would be an opening for cultural exchange. “We are both Buddhist countries and therefore can have joint religious activities. Further, we can enrich our cultural connection through exhibitions in each other’s countries thus creating greater understanding,” he said.

Image: The Ambassador designate from Vietnam Ton Sinh Thanh meets with members of the Sri Lanka-Vietnam Business Council at a reception following his handing over of credentials to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pic by Nisal Baduge

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