PM, Sri Lankan President focus on enhancing cooperation in trade, defence production
COLOMBO : Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena met here on Tuesday and emphasized on enhancing cooperation in bilateral trade, defence production and tourism.
In a meeting held at the President’s Secretariat, the two leaders focused on further consolidating their ties for the mutual benefit of their countries. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Sri Lanka, which he said, had grown stronger over the last six decades. He recalled the visit of President Maithripala to Pakistan in April last year terming it as positive and encouraging, during which a number of agreements were signed between the two countries.
Nawaz Sharif mentioned that Sri Lanka enjoys exceptional position of being the first country with which Pakistan entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He emphasized on taking steps to increase the present volume of bilateral trade of US $ 325 million to US $ 1 billion by the end of 2016.
PM Nawaz Sharif pointed the need for resolution of tariff issues by Sri Lankan authorities which he said would facilitate the Pakistani businessmen in maintaining export of their products to Sri Lanka on a long term basis.
He apprised the Sri Lankan President of the improved security situation in Pakistan in the wake of operation Zarb-e-Azb. He further said Pakistan is an attractive country for tourism and mentioned that being home to the Buddhist Civilization and heritage, the country offered great potential for promoting religious tourism, particularly in Sri Lanka.
The two sides also discussed the potential of cooperation in defence production. Later, Prime Minister Sharif and President Maithripala led their delegations for talks on issues of bilateral interest. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also joined the delegation-level talks. The Pakistan side was represented by Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and National Security Advisor Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua.