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Nepal; Sri Lanka: Agreement to Increase Bilateral Cooperation in Several Areas

(July 30, 2009) Nepal and Sri Lanka agreed on July 25, 2009, to undertake increased cooperation in several key areas, after their respective foreign secretaries engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of the two countries' relations. The talks covered 15 major areas of bilateral cooperation identified by the new Nepal-Sri Lanka Permanent Joint Commission, inaugurated earlier this year and headed by the two foreign secretaries. The two men also agreed to “make economic, cultural, political and trade relations between the two countries result-oriented.” (Nepal, Lanka to Ramp Up Support, E-KANTIPUR.COM, July 27, 2009, available at

The bilateral areas of cooperation will include trade, tourism, education, health, investment, civil aviation, finance, sports, and culture. According to Nepal's Foreign Secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya, Nepal could benefit in particular from Sri Lanka's experience in health and education, because “Sri Lanka has [a] very successful literacy rate and they have good coverage of health service which is equal to developed countries.” (Id.) Acharya and his counterpart, Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha T.B. Kohona, plan to promote join cooperation in tourism in 2011, when both nations will observe a “Tourism Year.” Kohona suggested to Acharya that Nepal form a Board of Investment, which in his view could help foster investment even during times of conflict. (Id.)