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South Africa; Sri Lanka: Cooperation Agreements in Tourism, Zoo Management

(Mar. 2, 2015) Sri Lanka and South Africa concluded two cooperation agreements on February 24, 2015. The agreements are:

1) Draft Declaration of Intent between the National Department of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism and Sports on Cooperation in the Field of Sustainable Tourism Development for the Period 2015-2107; and

2) Memorandum of Understanding on a Collaborative Relationship Regarding Husbandry, Public Presentation, Research and Keeper Training for Animal Species Common to the National Zoological Gardens of the Republic of South Africa and the Department of National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka. (Sri Lanka and South Africa to Ink Agreement Today, LANKAPUVATH [the national news agency of Sri Lanka] (Feb. 24, 2015); 5th Round of Sri Lanka-South Africa Partnership Forum Convened in Colombo, Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence website (Feb. 25, 2015).)

The signing of the agreements was planned for the official visit of the South African International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, to Sri Lanka. According to the Sri Lankan Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Sri Lankan government made a request to South Africa to share its experiences in the areas of reconciliation and nation building. (Sri Lanka, South Africa to Sign Two Cooperation Agreements During Deputy Minister’s Visit, COLOMBO PAGE (Feb. 23, 2015).)

An event parallel to Mfeketo’s visit, the Fifth Partnership Forum between South Africa and Sri Lanka, took place February 24-25 in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. (Id.) The Forum focused broadly on cooperation between the two countries. In addition to tourism and zoo management, the topics discussed included economic and trade relations, science and technology, transport, agriculture, mutual legal assistance, education, cooperation between police services, and defense cooperation. (Sri Lanka and South Africa to Ink Agreement Today, supra.)

The Mfeketo delegation is the first from South Africa to visit Sri Lanka under the current Sri Lankan presidency of Maithripala Sirisena, who was elected on January 8, 2015. The visit is considered to be a follow-up trip to the official visit of the South African Deputy President that took place last July. (Sri Lanka, South Africa to Sign Two Cooperation Agreements, Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence website (Feb. 24, 2015).)