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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday said that his country is ready to work with all stakeholders to establish an effective mechanism for a regional corporation that would work to counter ISIS-based terrorism.

Delivering a formal address to the Parliament of the Maldives, the Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka has learnt a lot from the recent terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday.

Expressing that it was "a great honour to address the Maldivian Parliament", the Prime Minister thanked the Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed, and members of the Parliament for extending the invitation.

The Prime Minister highlighted that long history in the relationship between the Maldives and Sri Lanka, speaking of the shared similarities between the two nations in culture, food, as well as linguistics.

"Sri Lanka is considered to be the second home of Maldivians, providing shared experiences in education and medical services. Many Sri Lankans work in the Maldives", noted Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe elaborated that these common traits were not limited to culture, saying that both countries also have a strong commitment to democracy.

He expressed gratitude at the support provided by the Maldives in the country's time of need, particularly by sending an envoy to Sri Lanka following the bombings.

Wickremesinghe added that over the years, Sri Lanka and the Maldives had successfully maintained convenient and supportive bilateral relations.

"Today the diversification of trade is a strong component of the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the Maldives."

The Prime Minister further revealed that Maldives is the third largest export destination for Sri Lanka among the SAARC countries.

"The value of total trade between the two countries, which stood at USD 271 million in 2017, increased to USD 304 million in 2018."

Addressing the visa agreements signed during this visit, the Prime Minister stated that as a special arrangement, visas covering grandparents of  Maldivian students would be facilitated as well.

In addition, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also addressed the issue of climate change, cementing the nation's solidarity with the Maldives on the matter as he declared, "Today climate change is an impending threat to all of us."

Recognising that the Maldives is particularly vulnerable to climate change, he offered assurances that Sri Lanka is ready to completely support in the country's fight against rising sea levels and global warming.

"I also proposed to President Solih that we work together at international forum dealing with this subject."

Concluding the address, Prime Minister thanked President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, "I wish you all success in your journey towards peace, prosperity and freedom and democracy."

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