Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout on the official visit to Sri Lanka on November 6-7, 2013
Posted on November 4th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE-Embassy of the Czech Republic

After meeting his counterpart Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris in New York in September 2013, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout will be visiting Sri Lanka on November 6-7, 2013 during the regional visit to South Asia in order to deepen the bilateral dialogue and support the business cooperation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout will be visiting Sri Lanka accompanied by the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Jiri Balvin, Deputy Minister of Environment H.E. Mr. Tomas Tesar, representatives of Czech Senate, powerful business delegation, representatives of the Czech film industry, Prague Zoo and journalists from Czech Public TV and Czech Public Radio.

On the agenda of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout are meetings with various Sri Lankan ministers and officials with whom he will discuss aspects of future bilateral cooperation. Primarily, H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout will meet Minister of External Affairs Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, who visited the Czech Republic in March 2011. Both Ministers intend to establish the regular political dialogue on the highest level, which would be vital for further enhancing mutual cooperation in various fields. Czech delegation will further meet Minister of Economic Development Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Environment Hon. Sushil Premajayantha, Minister of Petroleum Industries Hon. A.P. Yapa, Minister of Energy Hon. Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Minister of Sugar Industry L.P.J. Senewiratne. H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout is also supposed to meet Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, and Hon. Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Jayaratne, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

There will be included over 20 companies in H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout-â„¢s delegation, representing the sectors of energy and renewable energy, engineering, sugar industry, civil aviation, banking or real estates. The -¾Czech -” Sri Lankan Business Forum-, inaugurated jointly by Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Jan Kohout and Minister of Industry and Trade of Sri Lanka Hon. Abdul R. Bathiudeen, will take place in the premises of National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka on November 6. During the Business Forum, Memorandum of Understanding between the Czech Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka will be signed, enabling exchange on business opportunities in both countries.

Following the successful exchange of animals in autumn 2012, when Government of Sri Lanka generously gifted to the Czech Republic a pair of elephants in the exchange of other rare animals. The Czech Republic would like to continue in this mutually enriching cooperation. In this regard, the Memorandum of Understanding on the exchange of rare species of animals will be signed between the Prague Zoo and Department of Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Sri Lanka in 1957, both countries are craving for continuous improvement of our ties in all possible aspects. According H.E. Mr. Miloslav Stasek, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic accredited to Sri Lanka, the Czech Government steadily supported Sri Lanka Government in difficult time of civil war. The Czech government has also provided long-term development assistance to Sri Lanka, focused primarily on environmental protection. After the end of the civil war in 2009, the new era of relations is opening up for our two countries, he said.

Huge impetus for bilateral relations came from the visit of Minister of External Affairs Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris to the Czech Republic in the spring 2011 when the Agreement on Protection of Investment had been signed. Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Mr. Martin Colourer visited Sri Lanka in October 2011. The milestone in our mutual relations was the visit of Minister of Economic Development of Sri Lanka Hon. Mr. Basil Rajapaksa to the Czech Republic in March 2013, which provided an extraordinary political momentum to the joint exploration of new areas of mutual cooperation.

Since 2002, there has been a‚ continuous growth in mutual trade with only minor deviations, over the last 10 years it has increased more than nine-fold. In 2012, two ways trade was ramping up with 43 million USD import from Sri Lanka (74 % garments, the rest mainly with agricultural products) and 14.7 million USD export from the Czech Republic (mainly rubber articles, mechanical appliances)

The Czech Republic sincerely welcomes the recent positive economic developments in Sri Lanka, in particular regarding infrastructure development and fiscal policy. Czech companies have a special interest in cooperation with Sri Lanka in areas such as infrastructure, energy, water and environment protection, food processing, sugar industry, leisure, recreation and hospitality or higher education.

The Czech Republic is looking for every opportunity to improve our relations with Sri Lanka. Therefore, Sri Lanka is among 15 countries that can apply for Czech Republic/UNESCO scholarship in the academic year 2014/2015.

Sri Lanka is also among the countries to which the Government of the Czech Republic will provide developmental aid in 2014 under the umbrella of so-called -Small Development Project-, aimed at positive change in Sri Lanka. In the past, the Czech Republic under this scheme financed the project in water management and vocational training.

6,000 Czech tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2012, with this number growing every year as Czechs gradually start preferring Sri Lanka for their holidays instead of traditional locations in Mediterranean region.

Miloslav Stasek

Ambassador of the Czech Republic

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