Sri Lanka is building its footprint in the region years after having had a growing presence in several countries through its highly sought after skilled work force.For several years now, Sri Lankans have been working in key positions in several Pacific Island countries in a range of private industries and government organisations such as aviation, distribution and logistics, banking and finance and the judiciary.
Last week, Sri Lanka and the Solomon Islands formally established diplomatic relations. Dr Palitha Kohona, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, signed the Joint Communiqué on behalf of Sri Lanka, while Collin D. Beck, Permanent Representative of Solomon Islands to the United Nations, did the honours on behalf of Solomon Islands.
“Today, the two countries share similar goals as developing countries, both internationally and domestically. Sri Lanka having reached middle income status, and having achieved most of the MDGs, would be happy to share its experiences with Solomon Islands,” Dr Kohona said.
Mr. Beck expressed Solomon Islands’ interest in learning more about Sri Lanka and capitalising on this new beginning. He also noted that the establishment of diplomatic ties would give Solomon Islands the opportunity to learn from Sri Lanka and to further cooperate in the political, socio-economic and cultural fields.
There is much that the Solomon Islands can learn from Sri Lanka’s agricultural successes and international marketing. The international success of the relatively small nation that has established a global reputation as a producer of sought after tea products is a case in point. That success would be worth emulating for the Pacific’s own indigenously developed brands.
Sri Lanka was also in the news last week in the region: Auckland Zoo, which wants to bring in elephants from Sri Lanka, says they could be quarantined on Niue, reports Radio New Zealand International. It is a requirement of the importation of Asian elephants is that they spend 3 months in quarantine in a third country and Niue is one of the places being considered as it has previously served as a quarantine station in the past for animals imported into New Zealand.