COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a bilateral meeting with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry in Colombo in Colombo on Wednesday.
The two foreign ministers reviewed the whole gamut of Pakistan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi underscored the importance Pakistan attached to its relations with Sri Lanka and further strengthening the multifaceted cooperation. He stressed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s present visit was reflective of the priority accorded to this relationship.
Underscoring the need to enhance bilateral trade and investment, Qureshi expressed satisfaction at the progress made during the recently held meetings of the 12th Joint Economic Commission (JEC) and 7th Commerce Secretary Level talks.
The foreign minister welcomed the convening of the “Trade and Investment Conference” jointly chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
To realize the full potential of bilateral trade, the need to further expand the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was underscored.
In the context of economic connectivity, Qureshi highlighted that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), could be a game changer for the entire region.
The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also highlighted the mutual benefit that linking of Gwadar Port in Pakistan to the Sri Lankan Ports could bring to both the countries.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi invited Sri Lanka to benefit from Gwadar Port for easy access to the Central Asian markets.
Great to meet with FM @DCRGunawardena this morning in Colombo for a discussion on matters across a range of bilateral, regional and int’l interest. Together we are committed to working together to strengthen our relationship and evolve new areas of collab & cooperation. pic.twitter.com/g19o5KoCQ3
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) February 24, 2021
Noting the close traditional and cultural ties between the two countries, he proposed on promoting religious tourism.
The foreign minister welcomed the reconstitution of Sri Lanka-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group in Sri Lankan Parliament and underscored the importance of regular parliamentary exchanges to reinforce bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.
Qureshi said that Pakistan was a key partner of Sri Lanka in human resource development.
In this regard, he highlighted the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Higher Education Cooperation Programme (PSLHECP).
The foreign minister also appreciated the Sri Lankan cricket team’s visit that led to the return of international cricket to Pakistan.
The foreign minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on major issues of regional and international importance.
The two foreign ministers re-affirmed the commitment for close cooperation at the regional and international fora including the United Nations and SAARC.
They agreed to work closely to further strengthen ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields.