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The Prime Minister of Bhutan, H.E. Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, called on H.E. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka met with this afternoon at the Sri Lanka House, Thimphu. President Rajapaksa felicitated the Bhutanese Government for the excellent preparations made for the 16th SAARC Summit, which coincides with the silver jubilee of SAARC being established and expressed his keenness to provide a people centric orientation to the future activities of SAARC as a means of improving people to people relationships.

The two Leaders discussed the importance of increasing cultural tourism between the two countries considering the shared Buddhist values and cultures. Lyonchhen Thinley informed the visiting President of his intention to propose to the SAARC Community to consider the possibility of studying Bhutan’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness as an alternative development paradigm. It was proposed that an intergovernmental meeting could examine this.

Lyonchhen congratulated President Rajapaksa for a successful stewardship of SAARC and his recent electoral victory. The two Leaders also held discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

Following this H.E. Professor Gamini Lakshman Peiris, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka met with his Bhutanese counterpart, H.E. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Minister in Charge of Foreign Affairs. Lyonpo Khandu congratulated Professor Peiris for his most recent appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs which he just assumed on 23rd April 2010.

Professor Peiris applauded Bhutan’s meticulous preparations made and stated that Bhutan was a particularly attractive venue for the event for numerous reasons, such as its status as one of the youngest democracies in the world today and the widely acclaimed development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Lyonpo Khandu thanked the Sri Lankan Government for accomodating Bhutanese students over the years for medical studies and the long standing cooperation in human resources development. The two Ministers also discussed possible areas of future cooperation in the field of hospitality and tourism, and exchange of visits by members of parliament between the two countries.

26 April 2010
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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