Colombo [Sri Lanka], July 25 (ANI): Russia's Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yury Materiy met Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday and conveyed congratulatory wishes of President Vladimir Putin to Wickremesinghe.
Russian President Putin in his congratulatory message to Wickremesinghe wrote, "Dear Mr Wickremesinghe, Please accept sincere congratulations on the occasion of your election as President."
He highlighted that Russia looks forward to strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries under his leadership.
"The Russian-Sri Lankan relations are of a traditionally friendly nature. I am counting on your activities as Head of State to foster further development of constructive bilateral cooperation in various spheres for the benefit of our peoples and in the interest of strengthening regional stability and security," he said, adding, "I wish you every success as well as good health and prosperity," the official statement from Kremlin read.
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)