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Pakistan, Sri Lanka ink six agreements to boost ties

April 6, 2015   05:51 pm

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Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Monday inked six agreements including cooperation between their atomic energy authorities, shipping and disaster management and also vowed to enhance economic ties.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena who following their exclusive and delegation level talks here at the PM House, witnessed the signing of agreements and noted their “excellent cooperation” in different areas.

Prime Minister Sharif told the press that the two sides reviewed the whole range of Pakistan-Sri Lanka multifaceted bilateral relations. He said the talks were marked by full trust and complete understanding.

“Both sides reached a broad consensus on ways and means to further strengthening bilateral cooperation in a comprehensive manner,” the Prime Minister said. Sri Lankan President Sirisena said the two countries were charting a “dynamic course in relations” and invited Prime Minister Sharif to visit Sri Lanka to continue the high level exchanges.

Prime Minister Sharif also stressed need for regular political exchanges between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and said Parliamentary visits would further strengthen the relations.

He said Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations, based on mutual respect and shared interests.

“Our relations are marked by cordiality and commonality of views on major regional and global issues. Pakistan wishes to further deepen and broaden relations with Sri Lanka in all fields of importance,” the Prime Minister said.

He said Sri Lanka enjoys the special position of being the first country with which 
Pakistan signed a Free Trade Agreement in August 2002.
He however pointed that the present volume of trade does not reflect the true potential.

“We have agreed to re-invigorate our effort to realize the goal of achieving US$ 1 billion bilateral trade target within the shortest possible time.” Sri Lankan President said the two sides agreed to improve their economic and trade ties and welcomed Pakistani investment.

“We invite Pakistan International Airlines to recommence flights to Sri Lanka.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the two sides also discussed cooperation in the field of defence and mentioned that Sri Lanka has been participating in the defense exhibitions in Pakistan, while Pakistan’s Naval ships have been regularly paying calls on the Sri Lankan ports.

He said the two sides agreed on the importance of tourism and the people-to-people contacts between the two countries. He said sporting ties, especially in Cricket, have created special bonds between our two peoples.

Sri Lankan President also mentioned the excellent partnership with Pakistan in the field of education and stressed further collaboration to enhance people to people and business to business ties.

Referring to the talks the Prime Minister said he discussed with President Sirisena the regional situation and the need for closer cooperation between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“I informed the President that Pakistan is focused on growth and development to ensure prosperity to our people. To this end, we want peaceful relations with all our neighbours.”

The two sides also discussed cooperation between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the multilateral forums, especially SAARC.

The Sri Lankan President appreciated Pakistan’s assistance to his country at critical moments after its independence and said it stood along with it in its fight against terrorism.

The two leaders also witnessed inking of a number of MOUs and Agreements that included cooperation in Sports; Shipping; Disaster Management; trafficking of illicit drugs; Atomic energy and academic interaction.

Both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Maithripala Sirisena said the agreements would go a long way in further strengthening the Pakistan - Sri Lanka bilateral ties.

The Sri Lankan President also appreciated Pakistan for its one million dollar grant for his country for the rehabilitaion of the Internally Displaced Persons and the US 200 million credit line.
(APP)

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