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Sri Lanka to resume diplomatic dialogue with Japan on LRT project

Sri Lanka to resume diplomatic dialogue with Japan on LRT project

Daily FT: The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with Japan regarding the abruptly terminated light rail transit (LRT) project.
The proposal to this effect submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, aims to mend the strained relations caused by the project’s unilateral cancellation in 2020. “The decision was taken mainly to boost bilateral relations with the Japanese Government which has been a strong development partner and to resume the LRT project that holds immense potential for Sri Lanka’s transportation infrastructure and economic development,” the Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena explained at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing yesterday.
He also said the resumption of the project will also help to draw up around $ 2-3 billion, which will be a major boost for the country’s economic recovery.
The Cabinet Co-Spokesman acknowledged that the abrupt cancellation of the project strained the bilateral relationship with the longstanding development partnership.
Gunawardena explained the decision to start diplomatic talks with the Japanese government when questioned why only the Presidential Secretariat was involved in the LRT discussions when there were no official statements made from the Japanese Government.
“The decision to resume the diplomatic dialogue reflects Sri Lanka’s commitment to addressing past issues and fostering strong relationships with international partners. By engaging in discussions with the Japanese Government, the Government aims to find common ground and seek mutually beneficial solutions,” he added.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka is in the process of further strengthening international partnerships while also attracting foreign investments to the country. Although the proposed LRT project funded by Japan ran into some controversy during the previous Sri Lankan government, the incumbent government has expressed commitment to proceed with the project while presenting more business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka for Japanese businesses/investors. Sri Lanka is working towards becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region supported by the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the strong trade ties enjoyed by the country. This also includes the focus on moving ahead with the country’s development agenda as well. Given the growth and business potential shown by Sri Lanka and the expanding opportunities, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the business/investment opportunities.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20230725/Z_2

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