Myanmar signs two agreements with Sri Lanka

June 15th, 2009 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, June 15 (DPA) Myanmar and Sri Lanka strengthened diplomatic relations over the weekend with the signing of two agreements that eased visa restrictions and pledged cooperation in the tourism sector, media reports said Monday.
The two agreements were signed Sunday when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid a state visit to Myanmar’s new capital of Naypyitaw at the invitation of junta chief Senior General Than Shwe, The New Light of Myanmar, a government mouthpiece, reported.

The two leaders discussed means of furthering cooperation in “religion, trade, economy, education, agriculture, forest, hotels and tourism, transport, as well as in regional and international arenas”, the newspaper said.

Sri Lanka and Myanmar are predominantly Buddhist countries. Both countries have also been widely criticised by Western democracies for human rights abuses in their offensives against rebel groups - the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and the Karens in Myanmar.

While in Naypyitaw, 350 km north of Yangon, Rajapaksa and Than Shwe witnessed the signing of an agreement between the two countries’ foreign ministries that allows visa exemptions for all holders of diplomatic and official passports.

Also signed was a memorandum of understanding to boost tourism cooperation between Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

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