Vietnam and Sri Lanka issued a joint communiqué on the occasion of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s State-level visit to Sri Lanka from October 13-15 at the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

During their talks, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the fine developments of the bilateral relations over the past 40 years since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in 1970. The two sides applauded the establishment of an inter-parliamentary cooperation mechanism and agreed to increase high-level visits to further consolidate the bilateral ties.

In line with the vision for Vietnam-Sri Lanka relation in the future, the two Presidents agreed that the two sides should strengthen cooperation on the basis of sharing, harmonising common concerns and interests, thus creating a connectivity and increasing the combined strength of the two economies as well as strengthening existing cooperation institutions.

The two sides reached a consensus that the upcoming meeting of the Vietnam-Sri Lanka Joint Committee will be held in Vietnam as early as possible to put forth cooperative programmes in various fields.

They also agreed to push dialogues on security and defence issues in line with the two countries’ relations through high-level meetings between defence forces and the training of defence officers.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of memoranda of understanding on bilateral political consultations, machinery manufacturing, investment promotion, cooperation in education, finance, defence and oil and gas, and an oil and gas sale contract.

The two sides acknowledged that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s State-level visit to Vietnam in 2009 created a foundation for expanding economic-trade cooperation for the common development and prosperity of the two countries.

They agreed that on the basis of existing cooperation, the bilateral economic-trade ties should be further strengthened through the full exploitation of each country’s potential.

In that spirit, the two leaders agreed to strive for 1 billion USD in two-way trade in the years to come and instruct the two countries’ officials to study a possibility for a preferential trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Vietnam .

President Mahinda Rajapaksa welcomed Vietnam ’s investment in telecom services, equipment and technology and hotels, and invited Vietnamese businesses to seek investment opportunities in Sri Lanka .

The two sides acknowledged that the 2009 Investment Encouragement and Protection Agreement has helped strengthen investment mechanism between the two nations.

They showed deep interest in developing comprehensive cooperation in the energy sector, including exploration and exploitation activities, and the sharing of technologies and experience.

The leaders agreed that there is a great potential for the two countries to further expand cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and poultry breeding. Therefore, the two sides will build specific cooperative programmes in these fields.

President Sang and his Sri Lankan counterpart agreed to strengthen cooperation in education as well as cultural exchanges.

The two sides agreed to encourage and create favourable conditions for tourists to visit Buddhist venues in both countries. They will assign relevant agencies to take measures to further boost tourism cooperation and map out a Programme of Action based on a memorandum of understanding on tourism signed in 1994.

The leaders stressed the need for air links between Vietnam and Sri Lanka to exploit the great potential in tourism cooperation as well as increase people-to-people exchange and work towards the signing of an aviation service agreement between the two countries.

The two sides agreed to continue cooperation for the common interests of the two nations in the principle of no intervention. They strongly condemned terrorism in all forms and expressed determination to strengthen cooperation in the international community’s joint efforts to prevent this danger comprehensively. President Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Vietnam for its support for Sri Lanka in the anti-terrorism fight at multilateral forums.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation at regional and international forums, especially the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the South-South Cooperation.

Sri Lankan recognised Vietnam as a market economy and affirmed support for the country’s bid to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the 2013-2016 term.

President Sang invited President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pay a State-level visit to Vietnam at an appropriate time and the Sri Lankan leader accepted the invitation with pleasure./.