A bilateral meeting took place between Minister of Foreign Affairs G.L. Peiris and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Local Government of New Zealand Nanaia Mahuta, 22 June on the sidelines of the CHOGM Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Foreign Minister Peiris briefed his New Zealand counterpart about the staff level discussions currently taking place with the IMF in Colombo and the support which the country is receiving from bilateral donors as well as multilateral institutions in respect of supplies of food, fuel and medicines. He underlined the importance of bridging finance during the next few weeks. The New Zealand Foreign Minister agreed to look into the possibility of support from New Zealand and the Commonwealth.
Minister Peiris requested the assistance of New Zealand with regard to the development of Sri Lanka’s dairy industry and agro based industries with a particular reference to the supply chain and logistics. Minister Peiris explained how the economic challenges in Sri Lanka have been aggravated by the impact of COVID-19.
The two Ministers discussed cooperation in the fields of higher education and vocational education with an emphasis on disciplines like computer and information technology intended to make education more relevant from the standpoint of livelihoods. They also discussed cooperation in ocean related issues, given the importance both Sri Lanka and New Zealand attach to matters such as climate change, global warming and conservation of ocean resources.
The two Ministers shared thoughts about the future of the Commonwealth as a force for the good of humanity in the modern world.
Foreign Minister also held bilateral discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations of Dominica Dr. Kenneth Melchoir Darroux on closer collaboration with the Caribbean region in the fields of trade, tourism and working together in international fora.