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Sri Lanka Signs MoU with Republic of Benin, Granting Visa Exemptions for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders

Sri Lanka has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Benin to exempt holders of diplomatic, official, and service passports from visa requirements. According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the agreement permits a 30-day stay without the need for a prior visa for these specified categories.

The signing ceremony for the MoU took place between Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ali Sabry, and his Beninese counterpart, Olushegun Adjadi Bakari.

Bilateral discussions transpired on Friday, January 19, between Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Republic of Benin’s Vice President, Mariam Chabi Talata, on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Kampala, Uganda. The focus of the discussions was on strengthening diplomatic ties, particularly in advancing economic and trade connections between the two nations.

During the meeting, Vice President Talata emphasized the Republic of Benin’s status as a significant cotton exporter and highlighted investment opportunities for the Sri Lankan apparel industry within Benin’s cotton sector. President Wickremesinghe welcomed this proposal and encouraged Sri Lankan investors to explore opportunities in that direction.

President Wickremesinghe also extended an invitation to the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Benin, Olushegun Adjadi Bakari, urging him to visit Sri Lanka soon to explore new economic possibilities and further enhance bilateral relations.

Officials present at the discussions included President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardena, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aruni Wijewardena, and President’s Director of International Affairs Dinouk Colombage.

In a parallel development, President Wickremesinghe engaged in discussions with Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed during the NAM Summit on Friday. Prime Minister Ahmed commended President Wickremesinghe on Sri Lanka’s rapid economic recovery and participated in talks aimed at advancing economic relations between the two countries. The discussions covered various sectors, including renewable energy, agriculture, and the garment industry, with an emphasis on exploring potential areas for new investments.

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