The foreign invitees to the Independence Day Anniversary celebrations including the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex Sophie, as well as Special Envoys of the Japanese and Chinese Governments called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (04).
The Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex Sophie were warmly received by the President and the First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena.
During this meeting, the President expressed his gratitude to Prince Edward for accepting the invitation extended to the Royal Family to attend the 70th Independence Anniversary celebrations and participating in this event. The President recalled the first visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth II to Sri Lanka in 1954 and the subsequent visits made by the members of the Royal Family including the Prince Charles.
‘The relations between the UK and Sri Lanka have strengthened after gaining independence in 1948’, the President said, adding that the Victoria Reservoir, which was built with the support of the government of the Great Britain, was a turning point in hydro power generation in the country and further said that it makes a special contribution to the national economy of Sri Lanka today.
The President recalled the warm hospitality he received with gratitude during his tour to the UK in 2015 where he met the HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
Expressing his views Prince Edward said that he is pleased to visit Sri Lanka specially to attend the 70th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
Prince Edward appreciated the speech made by the President at the Independence Day Anniversary celebrations and said that always the future of the nation strengthened in a country where more people are educated, and said that there is a special relation between Sri Lanka and the UK in the field of the education, recalling the statement made by the President the need of efficiency in educational reforms, planning the educational policies and plans to meet the demands of the present world.
It was also agreed to meet again at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the UK. During this meeting, the Prince Edward symbolically handed over a stone, marking the implementation of the project to construct walking paths in the City of Colombo under the programme to construct eco-friendly walking paths in the Cities of the member countries of the Commonwealth, to the President.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Mr. Wataru Takeshita, Japan’s Minister for Reconstruction and the Chairman of the Japan-Sri Lanka Parliamentarians League, who visited the country to attend the 70th Independence Anniversary celebrations, also met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, today.
The long standing relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan was recalled during this meeting and it was discussed to further strengthen these ties.
Mr. Wang Qinmin, the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, who also attended the independence celebrations, called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, today and discussed bilateral relations.