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Visiting Thai PM meets with Sri Lankan president

Bharatha Mallawarachi, Associated Press

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, left, and Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa smile after their meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, May 31, 2013. Yingluck arrived in Sri Lanka Friday for a two-day official visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Thailand and Sri Lanka signed several bilateral agreements Friday as the Thai prime minister met with Sri Lanka's president on an official visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations.

Soon after Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrived for a two-day visit, she and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met for talks that emphasized "enhancing defense and security relations" between the two countries, according to a Sri Lankan government statement.

The two leaders also discussed the need to strengthen maritime security and cooperation between nations in order to maintain peace and security in the region, said the statement, which was posted on a government website.

Four bilateral agreements on visa exemptions for diplomats and official passport holders, tourism cooperation, scientific and technological cooperation, and commerce and banking were signed.

Yingluck also addressed Sri Lanka's Parliament and was to attend a religious ceremony at a Buddhist temple in the central holy city of Kandy.

Sri Lanka and Thailand have enjoyed cultural and religious ties for centuries. Yingluck is scheduled to visit Maldives after her Sri Lanka visit.

Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement earlier this week that Yingluck's visits to Sri Lanka and Maldives "signify the enhancement and the deepening of bilateral relations and cooperation between Thailand and South Asian countries."

On Thursday, Yingluck met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Bangkok for talks on a framework for a free trade agreement and cooperation in infrastructure projects, investments and tourism, as well as scientific and education partnerships and security issues.


Associated Press writer Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok contributed to this report.