President Rodrigo Duterte seeks to strengthen political, economic, and cultural interests with Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena through bilateral talks, Malacañang said on Monday, following the five-day state visit of the Sri Lankan leader to the country.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo announced that Sirisena will be visiting the country from Jan. 15 to 19.
“President Sirisena will meet with President Duterte on 16 January 2019 in Malacañang Palace. Their bilateral discussions will focus on areas of mutual interest, including political, economic, agriculture, cultural and people-to-people engagement,” Panelo said.
According to Panelo, the Sri Lankan president is also scheduled to visit the Asian Development Bank, the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, Laguna, and later meet the Sri Lankan community in Manila.
The Palace official added that Sirisena’s visit to the country is significantly historic.
“It will be the first by a Sri Lankan President serving both as Head of State and Government under Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution,” said Panelo.
“Prior to that, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the only other Sri Lankan leader to visit in 1976, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1961,” he added.
The two nations celebrated the 58th anniversary of their diplomatic relations on Jan. 11.
Sri Lanka and the Philippines are exploring ways to expand their relations on trade and investment, defense, education, tourism, labor migration, agriculture, and mutual legal assistance.