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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:07, December 21, 2006
Myanmar leader meets Sri Lankan PM
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Vice-Chairman of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council Vice-Senior General Maung Aye met Wednesday with visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw, state-run Myanmar Radio and Television reported in a night broadcast.

Wickramanayaka also had discussions with his Myanmar counterpart General Soe Win on bilateral issues including economic cooperation in the morning.

But neither side disclosed the details of their meetings.

Wickramanayaka arrived here on Monday for a four-day working visit to the country.

Wickramanayaka is the second Sri Lankan prime minister visiting Myanmar since Mahinda Rajapaksa came in December 2004, before which there had been no high-level visits between the two countries in nearly three decades since 1976.

During Rajapaksa's 2004 visit, Myanmar agreed to export 2,000 tons of rice to Sri Lanka to help solve the latter's rice shortage.

Earlier in February 1996, the two countries established a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and so far, Sri Lanka has injected 1 million US dollars' investment in Myanmar since 1988, official statistics show.

In November this year, Myanmar agreed with Sri Lanka to establish direct air and sea links to effectively boost bilateral trade ties.

Currently, trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka is transacted through Singapore.

According to the Directorate of Trade under the Ministry of Commerce, Sri Lanka mainly imports forestry products and beans and pulses from Myanmar via brokers in Singapore and the country has expressed interest in also importing Myanmar gems and selling its own products in the Myanmar markets.

Myanmar and Sri Lanka are members of the subregional grouping of BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand- Economic Cooperation), which was originally formed with four members in June 1997 and later joined by Myanmar in August the same year.

The grouping expanded its membership to include Nepal and Bhutan at the first BIMST-EC summit in Bangkok in July 2004.

Source: Xinhua

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