Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen met the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana on the sidelines of the IORA Blue Economy Ministerial Conference which opened in Dhaka at the Hotel Intercontinental on September 5,2019 . Both sides discussed various areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, with particular focus on enhancing business to business connectivity. The Bangladesh Minister highlighted the potential of importing quality and affordable pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka. Minister Momen mentioned that a growing number of Sri Lankans are engaging in the RMG sector in Bangladesh and stressed that signing of the agreements on Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment, Avoidance of Double Taxation and Cooperation on Customs Matters would further safeguard and encourage investments in a win-win manner. Expressing agreement with the Bangladesh side, Minister Marapana informed that a business delegation from Sri Lanka is scheduled to visit Bangladesh in mid-September to discuss further business enhancement opportunities in Bangladesh.
Momen urged his Sri Lankan counterpart to expedite conclusion of the Coastal Shipping Agreement between the two countries which is expected to enhance trade and commerce between the two countries. Concurring with this view, the Sri Lankan Minister also touched upon the potential of developing cruise tourism in the Bay of Bengal.
Discussing security related issues, Minister Momen highlighted the zero-tolerance policy of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina against terrorism. He mentioned that Bangladesh is a secular country where people from all religions live in peace and harmony. He also sought Sri Lankan support in connection with repatriation of the more than 1 million Rohingyas from Bangladesh back to Myanmar, in safety and dignity. He cautioned that if this situation is allowed to continue for long, it can lead to security challenges in the region.