Sri Lanka lays ties boost hopes on exchange visits


High commissioner Shehan Ratnavale presenting his credentials to President James Michel at State House yesterday

Shehan Ratnavale said this after he presented his credentials to President James Michel at State House yesterday, becoming his country’s new high commissioner.

“There are so many areas of cooperation between the two countries,” he said, adding fishing boats have for long been the chief Sri Lankan export to Seychelles, adding a quarter of all those made for the overseas market end up here.

“We want to step up ties in the maritime area, not only at commercial level but also in naval defence arrangements in view of the piracy threat to Seychelles where Sri Lanka would have some expertise to share,” he said.
He said his country is ready to support maritime training.

Mr Ratnavale said the long civil conflict in his country had slowed down tourism arrivals but these are rising, having doubled to 400,000 a few years ago and reached 855,000 last year as the country eyes a 2.5 million visitors by 2016.

“We need investments in areas like hotels to help us cope with these expected high new numbers,” he said.

Seychellois have invested in granite quarries industries in Sri Lanka but he felt there can be more input from Seychelles.

He also called on Vice-President Danny Faure, “who has a passion for the area of education and underlined the importance of education cooperation”.

Mr Ratnavale is due to call on the speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Herminie today.

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