Sri Lankan PM arrives for historic visit

First visit by a Sri Lankan leader to Israel after diplomatic ties restored in 2000; Will meet with PM and FM during 4-day visit.

Wickremanayake 224.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
Wickremanayake 224.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake arrived in Israel on Sunday, in the first visit by a Sri Lankan premier to the country. Sri Lanka restored diplomatic ties with Israel in 2000, despite objections from the island's Muslim minority. During his four-day working visit, Wickremanayake is to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and President Shimon Peres, and travel to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On Monday he will first visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, and then Sderot. Last year, Israel exported about $60 million in goods to the South Asian nation, while imports were around $40m., according to the Foreign Ministry. Cooperation between the two countries is strongest in agriculture and medicine, and Israel sent a rescue team to Sri Lanka following 2004's Asian Tsunami that killed more than 225,000 people in 11 countries.