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    SL-Cuba bilateral relations on a strong footing

    Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba, Sarath Dissanayake presented Credentials  at the Palace of Revolution in Havana to the Deputy  President of the Council of State of Cuba, Madam Gladys Maria Bejerano Portela who was accompanied by the  Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla last week. For the presentation, Ambassador Dissanayake  together with  his wife and Attache, Anuruddha  left the official residence  in a ceremonial motorcade accompanied  by Ambassador Luis Castillo Campos of the Protocol Division of the Foreign Ministry and Major Braulio Hernandez Martinez of the Revolution Palace.

    Upon arrival at the Palace,  the Ambassador and delegation were received by the Chief of Protocol following which they  were afforded  a Red Carpet welcome and  a Guard of Honour by the Palace Guards. Thereafter,  the Cuban and Sri Lankan National Anthems were played by the Palace Band.

    After presenting Credentials, Ambassador Dissanayake had an exchange of views with  the  Deputy President Gladys Bejerano during which he conveyed the best wishes  of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Cuban President and for the well being and progress of the people of Cuba. He also recalled the long standing friendship between Sri Lanka and Cuba and that Sri Lanka was  the first Asian country to recognize the revolutionary Government in February 1959 which followed the establishment of diplomatic relations in July that year.  While appreciating  Cuba’s  grant of scholarships, assistance to combat dengue, malaria etc and its consistent support at the multilateral fora, the Ambassador emphasized the importance attached by Sri Lanka for further promotion of cooperation in such sectors  that were broadly discussed at  bilateral meetings during  President Rajapaksa’s visit to Cuba in June 2012.  The Ambassador also  reiterated the invitation to President Castro to visit Sri Lanka.

    For her part, the Deputy President Gladys Bejerano  conveyed the greetings  of President Raul Castro to the Sri Lankan President and wished the  Ambassador  all success. The Deputy President briefed the Ambassador on Cuba’s recent policy initiatives in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation among progressive nations in multifaceted areas of interest. In regard to bilateral relations, she expressed  gratitude  to Sri Lanka for its support to the Cuban cause and for the removal of embargo against the Cuban people. Speaking further, the Deputy President also praised President Rajapaksa’s   leadership in ushering a new era and  noted that bilateral relations are on a strong footing.

    After the ceremony, the Ambassador placed a flower  bouquet at the monument of Cuba’s National Hero, Josi Marti at the Revolution Square. Upon his return to the official residence, a  reception  was hosted for the Cuban officials, members of the Sri Lankan community and Embassy staff.

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