- Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister invites President and Prime Minister to visit Islamabad
- President Rajapaksa seeks to enhance trade between both countries
- Seeks Pakistani assistance to combat Islamic extremism and drug trafficking
Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister Shad Mahmood Qureshi yesterday called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, extending warm greetings on behalf of Pakistan and inviting Rajapaksa to visit the long-time friend and neighbour.
Qureshi also called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday to convey a special message from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. In a letter hand-delivered to Prime Minister Rajapaksa by the Foreign Minister, Prime Minister Khan extended an invitation for Prime Minister Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan to enhance ongoing bilateral relations. Prime Minister Rajapaksa accepted the invitation.
“We are eagerly waiting for your visit to Pakistan at your earliest,” Minister Qureshi said. He expressed Pakistan’s interest in further strengthening bilateral relations with Sri Lanka especially in the areas of economic development, trade, security cooperation and regional cooperation. “We already have very close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lanka. Pakistan hopes to further develop them widening the scope of cooperation,” he observed.
“We’re happy Sri Lanka is back in experienced hands,” Qureshi told the Prime Minister, noting that relations between the two countries can be rejuvenated under the leadership of Prime Minister Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Prime Minister Rajapaksa and the Pakistani Foreign Minister discussed a range of topics including fighting terrorism, youth affairs, trade, unemployment, agriculture and cricket. President Rajapaksa highlighting the need to enhance growth in trade and investment for mutual benefit, cited Sri Lankan betel exports to Pakistan as an example.
Rajapaksa sought Pakistan’s assistance to combat the drug trafficking problem Sri Lanka is facing. “Drug trafficking and addiction is a grave evil that my country is confronted with. We wish to seek Pakistan’s assistance to eradicate this menace,” the President said, further requesting Pakistan’s assistance to fight against Islamic extremism.”
Minister Qureshi said his Government is willing to work with Sri Lanka to conserve and develop the Buddhist heritage found in his country. Pakistan Foreign Minister was accompanied by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Dr. Mohammad Faisal and Acting High Commissioner in Colombo Tanvir Ahmad.