Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Pakistan is a testimony to the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said addressing a joint press conference yesterday (April 6).
Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations, based on mutual respect and shared interests. Relations are marked by cordiality and commonality of views on major regional and global issues. Pakistan will further deepen and broaden relations with Sri Lanka in all fields of importance, he said.
Prime Minister said “during our talks, President Sirisena and I, reviewed the whole range of Pakistan-Sri Lanka multifaceted bilateral relations. The talks were marked by full trust and complete understanding. Both sides reached a broad consensus on ways and means to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation in a comprehensive manner.”
He emphasized the need for regular political exchanges between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, including high level visits.
“Sri Lanka enjoys the special position of being the first country with which Pakistan had a Free Trade Agreement (August 2002). The present volume of trade does 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 next few years,” he said.
“We discussed cooperation in the field of defence. Sri Lanka has been participating in defense exhibitions in Pakistan, while our naval ships have regularly called on the Sri Lankan ports.”
“We agreed on the importance of tourism and the people-to-people contacts between our two countries. Sporting ties, especially in Cricket, have created special bonds between our two peoples,” the Prime Minister said.
“We discussed the regional situation and the need for the 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 neighbors,” he said.
“The meeting also allowed us to discuss cooperation between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the multilateral forums, especially SAARC,” the Prime Minister said.