Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Ali Sabry
– Photo : Agency (File Photo)
In an attempt to get out of the economic crisis, Sri Lanka has now added hope to Saudi Arabia. The Sri Lankan government has requested Saudi Arabia to invest in several sectors. These include sectors like renewable energy, petroleum, real estate, hospitality, ports etc. Foreign Minister Ali Sabri gave this information during his visit to Saudi Arabia.
Ali Sabri’s five-day Saudi visit began on 23 January. During this, he has held talks with several prominent Saudi officials. Along with this, he is also to meet Saudi Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. Ali Sabri has gone to Saudi Arabia only on the invitation of Prince Faisal.
Ali Sabri’s visit to Saudi Arabia in Sri Lanka is being watched with great anticipation. One of the reasons for this is also that he had talks with officials of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Madinah city of Saudi Arabia. Strengthening Sri Lanka’s relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council has been considered necessary in order to meet the needs of oil.
Sri Lanka’s relations with Saudi Arabia as well as with other Gulf Cooperation Council member countries deteriorated during the reign of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Especially during the Corona epidemic, Islamic countries were angered by the way the former President banned the burial of dead bodies. Then Saudi Arabia strongly criticized the Rajapaksa government. Although the then President had given the reason for that decision to stop the corona infection, it was alleged that the move was part of his anti-minority policy.
Now there is hope in Sri Lanka that with the new initiative of the Ranil Wickremesinghe government, Sri Lanka’s relations with Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries will improve. Ali Sabri said in an interview given to the website economynext.com- ‘My meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council was important because earlier our relations with it had deteriorated. I have talked to the Governor of the Council and other officials with the aim of increasing the investment of those countries in Sri Lanka.
Sabri said- ‘There are many opportunities for Sri Lanka in Saudi Arabia. Under the Saudi Vision 2030, massive development works are taking place here. In this Sri Lankan builders, engineers, IT personnel etc. can get good opportunities.
A large number of workers from South Asia work in Saudi Arabia. Earnings sent from abroad have been a major source of foreign exchange for a country like Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was in crisis due to the loss of foreign exchange reserves. Therefore, now the Sri Lankan government is trying to find all the sources of foreign exchange.
Sabri said that he has not requested Saudi Arabia to supply oil under the line of credit (loan). Instead, they are trying to attract Saudi investment. He said- ‘Taking a loan means that it will have to be repaid in the future. So now we are focusing on investment.
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