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Sri Lanka and India in talks over Weerawila airport

Feb 01, 2008 (LBO) – India's Cochin airport said a delegation had met Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapakse and visited a site in the island's south where it is interested in developing a new airport. Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) said it had met aviation minister Chamal Rajapakse who is the president's brother, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal and the chairman of Sri Lanka's airport authority, Chandima Rasaputra.

The airport authority runs Sri Lanka's only international airport in Katunayake, which is north of the capital, Colombo.

The delegation had then been taken by a Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft to the proposed airport development site in Weerawila, in southern Sri Lanka's Hambantota district.

"The proposed airport site is 15kms away from Hambanota, a fast developing city, in the southern province of Sri Lanka which is about 300 kilometres from Colombo and is also the political constituency of the President," CIAL managing director S Bharath said in a statement.

Sri Lanka is also developing a port in Hambantota with Chinese funding.

CIAL is 26 percent owned by the Kerala state government and central government and had contributed capital from Indian expa

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