President asks Pakistan to help boost trade, combat extremism, drug smuggling

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Pakistani Foreign Minister Shad Mahmood Qureshi called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. A President’s Media communique said that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister extended warm greetings to President Rajapaksa on his and his government’s behalf. Qureshi expressed Pakistan’s keen interest in further strengthening bilateral relations with Sri Lanka especially in the areas of economic development, trade, security cooperation and regional cooperation, the communique said.

“We already have very close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lanka. Pakistan hopes to further develop them widening the scope of cooperation,” Qureshi is quoted as saying. Minister Qureshi said his government wants to work with Sri Lanka to conserve and develop the Buddhist heritage found in his country.

“We are eagerly waiting for your visit to Pakistan at your earliest”, Minister Qureshi added.

President Rajapaksa in his remarks said that rather than looking for financial assistance, efforts should be made to ensure continuous and enhanced growth in trade and investments on a mutually beneficial basis. The President highlighted the case of betel exports to Pakistan as an example.

“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. President Rajapaksa also requested the government of Pakistan to help Sri Lanka in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Pakistan Foreign Minister was accompanied by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tanvir Ahmad, Acting High Commissioner in Colombo.

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