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Pakistan, Sri Lanka Agree to Further Cement Bilateral Ties in Diverse Fields

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COLOMBO– Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Tuesday agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations in diverse areas, including trade, investment, science and technology, and culture through enhanced connectivity.

“My visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral relationship [with Sri Lanka], especially trade and economic ties through enhanced connectivity…,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said while addressing a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa here after holding one-on-one and delegation talks.

Imran Khan said since Pakistan was part of the Chinese president’s Belt and Road Initiative through its flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Sri Lanka could benefit from it through enhanced connectivity up to the Central Asian states.

The prime minister, who is in Sri Lanka on a two-day visit, said he had asked his delegation to find ways and means to enhance trade and economic relations between the two countries through increased
connectivity.

Imran Khan said with Pakistan having faced the worst kind of terrorism for 10 years which took the lives of over 70,000 and Sri Lanka also facing the menace for 30 years, the two countries shared the common problem.

He mentioned the role played by Pakistan in addressing the problem of terrorism in Sri Lanka that was hindering its progress and development.

The prime minister said with 10 years of terrorism, there
hardly came any investment in Pakistan and Sri Lanka also faced
similar problems.

Now Pakistan and Sri Lanka like other countries of world
faced the situation of coronavirus, he added. The poor and developing
nations were badly hit by COVID-19 in terms of economy, he remarked.

Imran Khan said during the talks, the two sides discussed
how the poor and developing countries could get debt relief from the
developed world as well as the international financial institutions.

Highlighting the gravity of economic situation faced by
the developing countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Imran Khan said
Pakistan had provided a stimulus package of $8 billion as compared to
$3,000 billion provided by the United States to its people.

With the situation of discrepancy of resource allocation
found between the developed and developing worlds to deal with
COVID-19, the United Nations and other international institutions
should step in to help the poor and developing nations, he added.

Coming back to the bilateral relations, Imran Khan said
Pakistan having various heritage sites was home to ancient
civilizations of Gandhara and Budhism. A biggest Budha had recently
been found in the country, he added.

The prime minister, who extended an invitation to his Sri
Lankan counterpart to visit Pakistan, also stressed for enhanced
cooperation between the two countries in the field of cultural
tourism.

Imran Khan said he was not stranger in Sri Lanka as he had
been visiting the country from his cricketing period and played
matches.

He recalled how Sri Lankan cricket revolutionized and
became the world class team.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told the
media-persons that they discussed regional and international issues of
mutual interest, besides ways and means to strengthen bilateral ties.

He said during the meeting, the two sides agreed to
enhance cooperation between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in diverse areas,
including trade, investment, science and technology, education and
culture.

Imran Khan and his Sri Lankan counterpart on the occasion
also witnessed the signing of five memorandums of understanding (MOUs)
for enhanced bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment,
science and technology, and industrial technology.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is the first head of government
to visit Sri Lanka after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime
Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office last year, which was
reflective of the importance both the countries attach to their
important relationship.

Imran Khan is visiting Sri Lanka on the invitation of
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Imran Khan, Sri Lankan PM discuss bilateral, regional matters

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa held a one-on-one meeting,
and discussed issues of bilateral and regional importance.

The two leaders affirmed the resolve to strengthen relations in diverse areas in the meeting held at Temple Trees – the office of Sri Lanka Prime Minister.

The two sides focused on strengthening ties in areas of trade and investment, health and education, agriculture, science & technology, security, culture and tourism.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa received Prime Minister Imran Khan on his arrival here at the Bandaranaike International Airport this afternoon.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is the first Head of Government to visit Sri Lanka after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office last year, which is reflective of the importance both countries attach to their important relationship.

He is undertaking the visit to the island nation on the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart.— HANDOUT