LA PAZ, BOLIVIA: President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Bolivian President Evo Morales in La Paz yesterday where they shared views on an array of topics including trade and human rights.
President Rajapaksa stated that his visit to Bolivia is a new beginning in diplomatic, economic and trade relations with South American nations.
“Establishing relationships with new nations is a part of the Government’s policy,” the President said.
President Rajapaksa is the first Sri Lankan head of state to visit the Latin American country.
Bolivian President Morales inquired about Sri Lanka’s political, economic, industrial, export and import sectors. He also expressed interest in learning from Sri Lanka’s experiences in hydropower. Expressing his willingness to work closely with Sri Lanka, the Bolivian President queried his Sri Lankan counterpart about the possibility of importing cinnamon to his country. He also asked President Rajapaksa whether Sri Lanka could assist Bolivia in developing its apparel sector and whether a team of experts could be sent to Bolivia for this purpose. President Rajapaksa accepted the invitation and agreed to dispatch an expert team to Bolivia in this regard.
President Rajapaksa enlightened the Bolivian president of the progress Sri Lanka has achieved after the defeat of terrorism. He said the progress is being disregarded.
“Human rights are being used as a weapon to exert external pressure on the country,” President Rajapaksa said.
President Morales said Bolivia has also faced these types of problems in the past and continues to face such issues. At the end of the talks, a guard of honor was awarded to the Sri Lankan President at the Bolivian Presidential Palace.