Pakistan values relations with Sri Lanka, Zardari tells Peiris

July 15, Islamabad: Pakistan shares perceptions on a host of issues with Sri Lanka and it values the relations between the two countries, President Asif Ali Zardari has told the Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris on Friday when the Minister called on President Zardari at his official residence in Islamabad.

The Pakistani President has said that the relations with Sri Lanka share civilizational heritage and based on mutual respect and therefore the two countries should translate the special relationship into economic terms and take advantage of each others economic expertise and opportunities.

During the meeting, the two sides have discussed the bilateral relations, and mutual cooperation in trade and other related matters, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Discussions were also focused on the progress on the proposed currency swap agreement for promoting and facilitating mutual trade by reducing pressure on foreign exchange reserves of the two countries.

The President has expressed hope that by increasing the synergies of Pakistan-Sri Lanka economies and reinforcing institutional framework for economic cooperation, the mutual trade volume can be significantly increased by the two countries.

During a four-day visit by President Zardari to Sri Lanka last November the two countries inked four agreements on abolishing visa requirements for diplomats and other senior officials, corporation in agriculture, mutual administrative assistance and in the field of Arts and Creative Studies.

The two countries already have a Free Trade Agreement, Bilateral Investments Treaty, and Avoidance of Double Taxation to facilitate business communities.

Minister Peiris was accompanied by Sri Lankas High Commissioner in Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody and Deputy Head of Mission, M. H. M. N. Bandara.

Pakistan side included Secretary General to the President M. Salman Faruqui, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Chairman Board of Investment Salim H. Mandviwala and other senior officials besides Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar.

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