Pakistan vows to further strengthen ties with Sri Lanka

Colombo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday during his two-day maiden visit pledges to further strengthen relations with Sri Lanka.

The one-on-one meeting between the premiers discussed the progress of bilateral relations and the situation in the region, while delegation-level talks were also held between the two countries.

In a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart, PM Imran Khan spoke about his first visit to the country, saying it was when "I was starting my cricket career". His visit will further strengthen the relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, he added. "After terrorism, the biggest problem today is the coronavirus and Poor countries are ripped by the current situation. Developed countries should help poor countries in on war footings.”

The premier highlighted that Pakistan and Sri Lanka were facing issues such as terrorism. "Pakistan has been the victim of the worst terrorism for ten years, sacrificing 70,000 lives" over the past decade," he stated.

PM Imran Khan invited Sri Lanka to promote its economic and regional ties through Pakistan. "Through the CPEC, economic ties can be extended to Central Asia and Sri Lanka," he said. Pakistan is an "important component" of the CPEC, which he said would "open new avenues for the development of regional ties".

PM Imran also invited Sri Lankan counterpart to visit Pakistan.

PM Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Pakistan for its cooperation in the field of sports. The two leaders also avowed the resolve to strengthen relations in diverse areas in the meeting held at Temple Trees — the Sri Lankan prime minister's office.

Both sides assured on strengthening ties in areas of trade and investment, health and education, agriculture, science and technology, security, culture and tourism. A number of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to develop bilateral cooperation would also be signed during the visit.

Earlier, PM Rajapaksa received Pakistani Imran Khan on his arrival here at the Bandaranaike International Airport, where he was also given a guard of honour upon his arrival.

PM Imran Khan is undertaking the visit on the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the Cabinet and senior officials.

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