China assures help to solve urgent economic crisis: Sri Lankan PM

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.(photo:Instagram)

Colombo, April 23 (IANS) Facing mounting demands to step down by protestors for three weeks continuously, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has said China has assured help to solve the urgent economic crisis in the country.

Rajapaksa on Friday said in a telephone conversation with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who assured him that China will support Sri Lanka for economic and social stability.

“Had a very productive conversation with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. I reiterated #SriLanka’s gratitude to #China for the longstanding friendship and for assuring support to address some of the crucial needs affecting peoples’ livelihoods and well-being in these difficult times,” the Sri Lankan Prime Minister tweeted following the telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office said the Chinese Premier made this comment in a phone conversation with Rajapaksa on Friday.

The Prime Minister’s Office issuing a statement said Li Keqiang has noted that China understands the difficulties and challenges that Sri Lanka was facing, and it will do its best to uplift the livelihoods of the people of Sri Lanka.

“We understand the difficulties you are going through. We will work together to avoid these difficulties,” the Prime Minister’s Office added.

Chinese Prime Minister has guaranteed that both the Sri Lankan and Chinese governments will work together in solving the urgent financial issues, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The two leaders also discussed on further talks on the Free Trade Agreement, reducing Sri Lanka’s trade deficit, and attracting more Chinese tourists to the country.

Chinese leader’s assurance comes in the wake of Beijing’s pledge on Thursday of an urgent emergency humanitarian aid of RMB 200 million which would be provided to Sri Lanka, China International Development Cooperation Agency had announced that the humanitarian aid will include rice, medicines, production materials and other essentials, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

However, China has been keeping mum on the request of Sri Lanka, one of the members of 146 Belt and Road initiative, for debt rescheduling and $2.5 billion assistance.

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