ISLAMABAD, JAN 24: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received the Minister of Trade of Sri Lanka, Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana and State Minister for Regional Cooperation Mr. Tharaka Balasuriya at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. Dr. Gunawardhana along with an important trade delegation is visiting Pakistan from 20-27 January.  

Highlighting the importance of strengthening the existing fraternal relations between the two countries through high-level exchanges, the Foreign Minister underlined the need to capitalize on the immense goodwill that exists between Pakistan and Sri Lanka by expanding cooperation across diverse areas, including trade and investment, tourism,culture, education, defence, agriculture, human resource development, etc. 

Recalling the Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka in February 2021, the Foreign Minister said that all efforts must be made to enhance bilateral trade relations through optimal utilization of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA), particularly by expanding interaction between the business communities on both sides, and joint ventures and investments in high potential sectors. 

The Foreign Minster noted that deepening economic cooperation through proactive economic diplomacy was a top priority for the Government in the context of its policy focus on geo-economics. Reciprocating the sentiments, Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana thanked the Government of Pakistan for warm hospitality,and the goodwill towards Sri Lanka at all levels. He appreciated Pakistan’s consistent friendship and support for Sri Lanka and noted that his visit was aimed at further advancing mutually beneficial economic and trade relations. Sri Lanka was keen to expand ties in the whole range of sectors including ICT, pharmaceuticals, minerals, textiles, logistics, shipping, education and tourism.  Both sides also agreed to continue close collaboration in multilateral fora and to strengthen regional cooperation.