Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 1 (ANI): In order to enhance ties with Russia, the newly appointed Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry met with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka Yury Materiy on Sunday.
The Foreign Minister expressed his deep appreciation for Russia's support towards Sri Lanka in bilateral and multilateral fora.
He also expressed confidence in the further consolidation of cooperation, with particular attention to enhancing business ties, tourism and connectivity, Colombo Gazette reported.
Russian ambassador congratulated Sabry for his appointment and handed over a message of felicitation from the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed to the new Foreign Minister.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the Russian Embassy in Colombo and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry were present at the meeting.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin, while congratulating Wickremesinghe on his election as the head of the country had said that the Russian-Sri Lankan relations are of a traditionally friendly nature and Russia looks forward to developing constructive bilateral cooperation in various spheres for the benefit of our people and in the interest of strengthening regional stability and security.
Amid the crippling fuel shortage in the country, earlier, the former President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa sought credit support to import fuel to the island nation in a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries in several key sectors including energy even as Colombo negotiated a support package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The two leaders discussed current matters of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, in particular, in energy, agriculture, and transport.
Following this, Gotabaya thanked Vladimir Putin for all the support extended by his government to overcome the challenges of the past.
Notably, this year marks the 65th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Russia and Sri Lanka.
The leaders confirmed their commitment to developing further friendly bilateral ties in the context of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries being marked this year and agreed to continue contacts at various levels.
Meanwhile, since the beginning of 2022, Sri Lanka has experienced an escalating economic crisis and the government has defaulted on its foreign loans. The United Nations warned that 5.7 million people "require immediate humanitarian assistance."With many Sri Lankans experiencing extreme shortages of essentials including food and fuel, peaceful protests began in March. The protests led then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign on May 9, and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to flee the country on July 13 and resign the following day.
Wickremasinghe became acting president, and parliament elected him as the new president on July 20 with the support of the Rajapaksas' political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. He had previously described some protesters as "fascists" and declared a state of emergency on July 18.
He was sworn in as the President of the South Asian country on July 21. (ANI)