The 2 nd meeting of the Vietnam-Sri Lanka Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation took place in the Sri Lankan city of Colombo from August 10-11.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Dao Viet Trung and Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama co-chaired the session.

The officials reviewed the recent results of cooperation and put forth key directions for the future, especially once Sri Lanka has successfully tackled issues related to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to facilitate the country’s national construction and expansion of international relations.

They agreed to increase the exchange of high-level visits and prepare for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s state visit to Vietnam later this year.

The Vietnamese side also agreed to consider the possibility of re-opening its permanent representative agency in Sri Lanka .

The two sides agreed to speed up the signing of a number of important documents in order to create a legal basis for expanded bilateral cooperation, including an agreement on investment promotion and protection, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on crime prevention, plans of action for agriculture in the 2010-2012 period and for implementation of a MoU on fisheries, and several other deals on cooperation in marine shipping, education and national defence.

They also agreed to exploit other fields potential for cooperation such as health care, aviation, tourism, culture, sports and Buddhist study.

For trade and investment, the two sides consented to a target of 100 million USD in two-way trade in 2012, and a plan to expand cooperation on investment in both countries.

The two sides shared the common view of furthering their joint efforts in regional and international forums, particularly regarding the Colombo Plan for socio-economic development in Asia and the Pacific, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), the South-South Cooperation forum, the Non-Alignment Movement, and the United Nations.

The Sri Lankan side affirmed their support for Vietnam as a candidate in the election of UNESCO’s executive board.

The Vietnamese side said that Vietnam , in its position as ASEAN Chairman in 2010, will strengthen cooperation between Sri Lanka and ASEAN.

Finally, Vietnamese Deputy FM Trung and Sri Lankan FM R. Bogollagama signed the session’s minutes, agreeing to convene the third session in Vietnam in 2011.

While in Sri Lanka , Trung paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayka and met with leaders of a number of ministries and agencies in Sri Lanka , who spoke highly of the achievements Vietnam has recorded in its national renewal, construction and development process.

Trung congratulated the Sri Lankan government and people on their victory in the fight against terrorism as well as in restoring security and promoting national development.

Both sides applauded progress in their traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation, citing last year’s two-way trade value of 61 million USD, a three-fold increase over that of 2003 when the two countries held their first meeting of the joint committee.

Despite having faced various difficulties, Sri Lanka has already invested 13.2 million USD in five projects in Vietnam . The two nations have worked closely at regional and international forums./.