Sri Lanka President returns home from Pakistan visit

Feb 12, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has returned to the country Sunday after a successful official visit to Pakistan where the President and his delegation held discussions to enhance bilateral corporation between the two countries.

President Rajapaksa, who arrived in Islamabad Friday on a three-day state visit at the invitation of his Pakistan counterpart President Asif Ali Zardari, held discussions with President Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The talks centered on improving trade relationships between the two countries with a goal of reaching US$ 2 billion in two way trade by 2015.

The President has also discussed to start new mean to exchange goods between the two countries and the two sides have agreed to expand cooperation in economy, trade, defense, culture, tourism and media.

During the President’s meeting with Prime Minister Gilani at the Prime Minister House Saturday, delegations of the two countries signed three Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs).

A MoU was signed for the cooperation in media by Pakistan Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Aishaq Awan on behalf of Pakistan and Minister for External Affairs Prof G.L Peiris on behalf of Sri Lanka.

A second MoU for credit of US$ 200 million for Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka was signed by the Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh for Pakistan and Prof. Peiris.

Secretary of Pakistan Ministry of Professional and Technical Education Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and Secretary to President of Sri Lanka Lalith Weeratunga on behalf of Sri Lankan government signed the third MoU for enhancing cooperation in technical training in different fields.

The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTEC) of Pakistan and Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka will enhance cooperation under the MoU.

Under the MoU on media cooperation, the two countries agree to promote cooperation in media by enhancing the exchange of news stories, special programs, and important publications to highlight the historical, cultural, social, sports and literature of the two countries through radio, TV, agencies and information establishments.

The President also took time to visit Thakshila museum in the state of Punjab. The President paid homage to a Buddha statue that belongs to the 3rd century Bc and the relics on display at the Museum. The President also planted a Bo sapling in memory of his visit.

President Rajapaksa’s delegation included Minister of External Affairs Prof G.L Peiris, deputy ministers Duminda Dissanayake and Faizer Mustapha, MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, and Secretary Ministry of External Affairs Karunatilaka Amunugama.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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