Oman, Sri Lanka to mark 40 years of their diplomatic ties this month

Oman Wednesday 03/February/2021 18:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman, Sri Lanka to mark 40 years of their diplomatic ties this month

Muscat: Oman and Sri Lanka will mark 40 years of diplomatic ties through a number of events which will be held during this year, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Speaking on the eve of his country’s 73rd Independence day, which falls on 4 February, 2021, Ameer Ajwad, the ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman, added the celebrations to mark this occasion would be low-key, on account of the current circumstances.

“The 73rd anniversary is a significant occasion in our bilateral relations with the Sultanate of Oman, as it coincides with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Sultanate of Oman which falls on 17th of February 2021,” he said.

“We are planning to organise a series of events to celebrate this historic occasion throughout the year,” he added.

“I firmly believe that this remarkable year will serve as a catalyst to further elevate bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the Sultanate of Oman to new heights in the years ahead.”

Among the plans Sri Lanka has with Oman is the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to boost trade.

Small business owners from Sri Lanka are also expected to create partnerships with their Omani counterparts, while plans are also being discussed to bring sports teams from the island country for a series of exhibition games and goodwill tournaments later in the year, the pandemic permitting.

During the pandemic, Sri Lanka has also sent a number of essential food supplies, such as poultry, fruits and vegetables to Oman, to help people meet their daily needs.

“Because of the lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID, we decided to help people in the country by sending to supermarkets items they use most often,” said the ambassador. “This is another aspect of the cooperation between our countries.

“There is huge potential in the areas of economic cooperation, educational and technological cooperation as well as maritime cooperation,” he went on to add. “We focus on these areas. I believe these offer enormous opportunities for partnership and collaboration, particularly in terms of diversification drives, for the mutual benefit of the two people.”

“I wish to place on record my sincere gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik for granting amnesty to the Sri Lankan nationals who overstayed in Oman, allowing to return back to their homeland with the exemption of fines or penalties,” said Ajwad.

Although the embassy normally does conduct large-scale independence day celebrations every year, including a cultural performance by students from Sri Lankan School Muscat, as well as many members of the country’s community in Oman, this year’s proceedings will only include a handful of people, including business heads of Sri Lankan companies, and a few representatives of the expat community, owing to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

“While I extend my sincere appreciation to the government of Oman for taking care of the health and welfare of the Sri Lankan community in the Sultanate during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, I am also grateful, in particular, to the enormous support extended by the Foreign Ministry towards the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Muscat,” he said.

“On this auspicious occasion, I wish to thank all the members of the Sri Lankan community in for their support to the embassy as well as for their outstanding sense of social responsibility and solidarity shown to the host country during the challenging times of the COVID-19 outbreak,” Ajwad said.