Enhanced links with Arab world – Economic ties strengthened
The government of Qatar is considering investing in Sri Lanka’s hotel and leisure sectors to the tune of US $ 1 billion, External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris told the Daily News in a telephone interview from Qatar yesterday.
He said investment focus will also be on developing the areas surrounding the proposed hotel projects in the form of shopping malls and relevant infrastructure.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had successful bilateral discussions with Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabar Althani who is also Qatar’s Foreign Minister. The discussions centred on strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. “We followed up discussions which took place some months back in Colombo and the matter of Qatari investment in Sri Lanka’s hotel industry figured prominently in yesterday’s discussions,” Prof Peiris said.
“Qatar assured us that they have very significant interests in Sri Lanka and are convinced that Sri Lanka has huge potential for growth. Hence they want to come in a big way to Sri Lanka,” he said.
Following the talks, President Rajapaksa and his team visited a sports complex in the Qatar capital where the President said he was interested in taking sports to the rural areas of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan delegation also visited projects focusing on the reclamation of land from the sea. Sri Lanka’s focus on strengthening ties with Qatar reflects the emphasis laid in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy of strengthening ties with the Arab world.