Sri Lanka keen to Expand Bilateral Relations with Ethiopia: Amb Theshantha Kumarasiri

Sri Lanka is very much interested to expand bilateral relations with Ethiopia in various areas, Ambassador Theshantha Kumarasiri said.

In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian News Agency, Sri Lanka Ambassador to Ethiopia Theshantha Kumarasiri said Sri Lanka has very strong relations with Ethiopia and looks forward to expanding this ties.

He noted that Ethiopia and Sri Lanka are ancient friends, having relations since ancient times.

He pointed out that even before we established our embassy in 2016, we have had strong political, diplomatic and economic relations.

“We are thinking of expanding our bilateral cooperation, people to people relations. And we are also thinking of expanding our relations in connectivity; we have signed agreement with the Ethiopian Airlines. We are proposing to have direct flight between Colombo and Addis Ababa,” he said.

According to the ambassador, some Sri Lankan companies have established business in Ethiopia especially in Hawassa Industrial Park.

Sri Lankan companies are engaged in the apparel industry and are in contact with the Ethiopian government and the business sector, he said, adding that they are looking forward to expanding the garment sector as well.

“A lot of investors are coming, Sri Lankan businessmen are very interested in expanding the trade relation with Ethiopia, I believe when we expand our ties, there will be an opportunity for them to expand that area of trade with garment industry and also in other areas,” he added.

Sri Lanka is desirous to strengthen ties in many fields and exploit investment opportunities for mutual benefits in garment, trade and other areas, the ambassador pointed out.

“So many Sri Lankan companies want to invest particularly in the agriculture field and there are many inquiries that we received. This is the time even ( Sri Lankan) president, foreign minister and prime minister; they are looking forward to enhance our relation in Africa particularly in green energy and blue economy, among others. ”

“So, it will be a new beginning and we are looking forward to expand to the entire Africa through our engagement with Ethiopia,” he said.

He also said that they are thinking of having high ranking Sri Lankan government visits very soon, most probably the president or the foreign minister, to bolster bilateral relations with Ethiopia.

They are very much interested in engaging directly with the African leaders including Ethiopian leaders, President Sahle-Work Zewde, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen for strong bilateral engagement.

The ambassador who served in Paris, South Korea and Brazil, before designated to Ethiopia said, the embassy of Sri Lanka in Addis Ababa is also looking forward to facilitate bilateral cooperation and engagement with business partners.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency