Saudi Arabia pledges $300m in aid to Sri Lanka

Saudi Arabia has reportedly pledged $300 million in aid to Sri Lanka for water supply projects and agricultural, education and health sector development, according to Sri Lankan media outlets.

Saudi ambassador Abdul Nazar Al Hardi announced the assistance project to reporters during a visit to a road development project in Padiyatalawa in eastern Sri Lanka on Sunday.

“We are happy to assist Sri Lanka and look forward to strengthening bilateral ties with Sri Lanka,” he said.

Sri Lanka has been actively seeking to improve ties with Saudi Arabia for the last several years, particularly in the tourism sector. In 2017, more than 50,000 Saudi nationals visited Sri Lanka.

Additionally, the Saudi Fund for Development has been operating in Sri Lanka for more than 30 years, and recently funded a 200-bed hospital for epileptics in the capital of Colombo.

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Sri Lankan airlines also operates 18 return flights to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to cater to the Sri Lankan expatriate population in the kingdom, the largest Sri Lankan community in the Middle East.