Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Sri Lanka, with diplomatic ties dating back 66 years, are determined to strengthen and open new cooperation opportunities in various fields.

The commitment is the outcome of the state visit of President Joko Widodo to Sri Lanka on Jan 24-25.

Based on a press statement from Indonesia`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs received here on Thursday, the visit was undertaken to meet the invitation of President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena that was conveyed on the sidelines of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Summit in Jakarta in March 2017.

During the state visit, Widodo met Sirisena, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Chairman of the Sri Lankan Parliamentary Opposition Rajavarothiam Sampanthan to discuss matters relating to bilateral cooperation, particularly in the fields of trade and investment.

The two countries agreed to establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), gradually starting with negotiations on Trade in Goods, or TiGs, that are expected to be completed within two years.

The Indonesian and Sri Lankan governments also agreed to establish a Trade and Investment Working Group to address trade and investment barriers and trade agreement negotiations in parallel.

At a bilateral meeting, Widodo conveyed Indonesia`s readiness to meet the demand of the Sri Lankan government to assist in building its infrastructure and connectivity.

Cooperation in the two areas coupled with the strengthening of trade cooperation through the establishment of the FTA are new opportunities that can be explored during the visit.

Furthermore, Widodo and Sirisena have witnessed the signing of three cooperation agreements covering search and rescue, higher education, and drug eradication. The cooperation prioritizes capacity building activities.

During the state visit of the Indonesian president to Sri Lanka, a business forum was held between the chambers of commerce and industry of both nations on Jan 24.

The business forum aims to strengthen trade relations between the two countries and renew the memorandum of understanding between the chambers of commerce and industry of both countries.

Reported by Yuni Arisandy

Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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