By Janaka Alahapperuma
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is in New York City to attend 69th United Nations General Assembly which is being held in the UN Headquarters, held bilateral discussions with several state leaders on Tuesday afternoon. They included the Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala met on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City. Both leaders discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest, including the upcoming 18th SAARC Summit to be held in Kathmandu in November this year. The President is expected to attend this Summit.
The president's discussions with his Colombian counterpart covered enhancement of bilateral relations between both countries. During discussions with Colombian President Calderón, President Rajapaksa discussed further strengthening relations with the South American country, including future diplomatic relations.
The Commonwealth Secretary General exchanged views with the President about the latest information relating to the commonwealth. Secretary-General Sharma discussed ongoing Commonwealth matters with the President, including the meetings later this week to discuss reforms pertaining to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States Prasad Kariyawasam and the Deputy Permanent Representative Major General Shavendra Silva were present during bilateral discussions.
Meanwhile the President also attended the 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative and expressed Sri Lanka's support for the conservation of elephants and tuskers in Africa. President Rajapaksa is due to address the 69th UN General Assembly.
Pix by: Sudath Silva