Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Official Visit
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Dinesh Gunawardena, was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his official visit to Thailand. Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri praised Sri Lanka’s rapid economic recovery and mentioned that Thailand is willing to provide further assistance if needed. The visit strengthens the diplomatic ties between the two countries, which have been connected through Buddhism for over 700 years.
United International Vesak Day Summit
During his visit, Prime Minister Gunawardena will attend the 18th United International Vesak Day summit, an event celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Gautama Buddha. Over 3,500 monks from 50 countries are expected to participate in this summit, organized jointly by Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU), the Supreme Sangha Council, and the Thai government. The collaboration between Thailand and Sri Lanka on Vesak Day highlights their close relationship and shared cultural heritage.
Cooperation and Development
During their meeting, both Prime Ministers expressed their desire to enhance cooperation in various fields. Sri Lanka’s leader expressed interest in learning from Thailand’s best practices in food security and adopting the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy model. Mr. Gunawardena also emphasized the importance of human resource development and promoting exchanges and visits at all levels.
In response, Gen Prayut confirmed Thailand’s commitment to cooperating with Sri Lanka as a development partner, believing that Thailand’s expertise in tourism, the service sector, and retail would greatly benefit Sri Lanka.
Progress on Thailand-Sri Lanka FTA Talks
Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the Thailand-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks, aiming for a final deadline of early 2024. Mr. Gunawardena also invited the private sector to invest in Sri Lanka’s Port City of Colombo and other significant projects.
An interesting aspect of the visit was the return of “Plai Saksurin,” a male elephant gifted to the Sri Lankan government by Thailand 21 years ago. Prime Minister Gunawardena approved the return of the elephant for treatment, reflecting the good relations between the two countries.
The visit of Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to Thailand marks an important milestone in the relationship between the two countries. Cooperating on various fronts, from cultural events like Vesak Day to economic and development initiatives, both nations are committed to working together as partners in the future.