PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday (24) underlined the need for capitalizing on immense goodwill that exists between Pakistan and Sri Lanka by expanding cooperation across diverse areas, including trade and investment, tourism, culture, education, defense, and agriculture.
In a meeting with Sri Lankan Minister of Trade Dr Bandula Gunawardhana and State Minister for Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, Qureshi highlighted the importance of strengthening existing fraternal relations between the two countries through high-level exchanges.
Recalling Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka in February last year, the foreign minister stressed that efforts must be made to enhance bilateral trade relations through optimal utilisation of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
This he added, can be done by expanding interaction between the business communities on both sides, getting into joint ventures and making investments in high potential sectors.
Qureshi said that deepening economic cooperation through proactive economic diplomacy was among government’s top priorities in the context of its policy focus on geo-economics.
During the meeting, both sides agreed to continue close collaboration in multilateral fora and to strengthen regional cooperation.
Reciprocating the foreign minister’s sentiments, Dr Gunawardhana thanked the Government of Pakistan for its warm hospitality and its goodwill towards Sri Lanka at all levels.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s consistent friendship and support for Sri Lanka, noting that the visit was aimed at further advancing mutually-beneficial economic and trade relations.
He added that Sri Lanka was keen on expanding ties in various sectors, including ICT, pharmaceuticals, minerals, textiles, logistics, shipping, education, and tourism.
The visiting delegation will remain in Pakistan till January 27.