Mar 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka and China have ended the stalemate over the Chinese-funded US$ 1.4 billion mega development project suspended by the new government and agreed to put the project back on track.
Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena, who is visiting China for the first time since he assumed office, had successful discussions with the Chinese leaders affirming them Sri Lanka’s committbemen to continue the longstanding ties between the two countries, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
During meetings with Chinese leaders in Beijing on March 26, President Sirisena promised to continue the infrastructure project, which was suspended by the country’s new administration.
Meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yestboday (26) President Sirisena expressed his gratitude to China for supporting Sri Lanka in difficult times, especially in its fight against terrorism, and said it has strengthened the friendship between the two countries.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressing his contentment over the program carried out by the new Sri Lankan Government said his government will extend “our fullest cooperation and support ” to the Sri Lankan Government and called for “consistency and stability of policies” in Sri Lanka.
The President said Sri Lanka appreciates China’s continued support for the Colombo port project as well as other Chinese investment, and added that his government will take more effective measures to promote cooperation with China.
Assuring that the problems surrounding construction of the port project are “temporary and do not lie with the Chinese side”, the President said he expects to eliminate corruption in mega development projects.
“I expect to build the country with transparency by eliminating corruption at all levels,” Sri Lankan President noted and added that his government welcomes more Chinese investment.
“I am pleased to work with the Chinese Government and I expect new Chinese investors to come to our country,” he said, adding that the Asian region must strengthen their ties in commercial, political and social spheres.
China, which has developed several large scale infrastructure projects in the island is its biggest investor. The new Sri Lankan government temporarily suspended the Colombo port project amid concerns of environmental impact and allegations of corruption and ordered a review. The suspension triggered concerns from China, which said the project was in line with local laws.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Maithripala Sirisena discussed at length the importance of forming a regional development plan for the Asian region and also the importance of having a joint investment plan for South Asian countries. President Sirisena has also invited the Chinese Premier to visit Sri Lanka at his earliest.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)
Is the project finally going to start? or will we have to see someone saying that the project is still suspended again?