Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris welcomed the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka, Abrul Nasser Al Harthy, at the Foreign Ministry on 01 October 2021. The Foreign MInister extended his warm greetings and recalled the excellent, long-standing and friendly relations, that exist between the two countries and acknowledged with gratitude the courtesies extended by the Saudi-Arabian government to the Sri Lankan Muslim community during the Hajj annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims and also for the annual date donation to Sri Lanka during the holy month of Ramadan.
Minister Peiris also expressed his sincere appreciation for the understanding and support of Saudi Arabia at several international forums. This support had been consistent over a significant period of time and was founded on a principled position. This principled stance was based on three deeply held beliefs shared by Sri Lanka. Firstly, the unique identity and dignity of each nation state and its culture must be respected. Secondly, national institutions and structures must be given the full plenitude of space needed to discharge their respective mandates. Lastly, that human rights should not be misused as an instrument to justify undue intervention in or interference with the internal affairs of states.
The Minister also appreciated Saudi Arabia for hosting Sri Lankan migrant workers and emphasized that employment opportunities for Sri Lanka helped both countries in their economic advancement. He encouraged Arabia to provide increased opportunities for Sri Lankans in skilled and professional categories. He also thanked the Government of Saudi Arabia for the assistance provided for the repatriation of Sri Lankan migrant workers during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister also noted with gratitude the contribution made by the Saudi Fund for Development in Sri Lanka's national development. The Ambassador assured the Minister that Saudi Arabia continues to at attach importance to its bilateral partnership with Sri Lanka and looked forward to further expand the bilateral relations in the priority areas identified by Sri Lanka, once the Covid-19 situation is normanlized.
Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Regional Cooperation was also associated at the meeting.
Foreign Ministry, Colombo, 06 October 2021