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Myanmar acting PM Thein Sein to visit Sri Lanka
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10:55, August 24, 2007

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Myanmar Acting Prime Minister Lieutenant-General Thein Sein will pay a goodwill visit to Sri Lanka in the near future to enhance the two countries' bilateral ties, according to an official announcement from Nay Pyi Taw Friday which did not spell out the date of his visit.

Expected on next Monday, the upcoming trip of Thein Sein, who is also First Secretary of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), comes eight months after Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka traveled to Myanmar in December last year.

Last month, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama visited Nay Pyi Taw during which the two countries' Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation met for the first time since established in 1996 and issues of bilateral relations and cooperation were discussed.

According to Sri Lankan sources, the two countries are cooperating in the fight against terrorism, investment and trade promotion, technical cooperation and tourism promotion.

Sri Lanka has so far injected one million U.S. dollars' investment in Myanmar since 1988, Myanmar statistics show.

In November last year, Myanmar agreed with Sri Lanka to establish direct air and sea links to effectively boost bilateral trade ties between the two countries as proposed by Sri Lanka.

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

Myanmar and Sri Lanka have enjoyed cultural and religious ties since the 11th century.

Myanmar and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations 59 years ago and both of the countries are now members of the subregional grouping of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi- Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) which also comprises Bangladesh, India and Thailand.

The BIMSTEC was originally formed with Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand 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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