Pak, Lanka ink two pacts to deepen ties
Colombo: Sri Lanka and Pakistan on Sunday agreed to deepen their bilateral relationship, particularly economic and trade cooperation, as they inked two key pacts during the landmark visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to the country.
Zardari, who is the first head of state to undertake a four-day visit to Sri Lanka after President Mahinda Rajapaksa began his second term last week, aims to boost bilateral cooperation and coordinate policies on regional and international issues.
Zardari, who arrived on his maiden visit on Saturday, met Sri Lankan Prime Minister DM Jayaratne on Sunday and pushed for deepening economic and trade cooperation between two countries.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to further economic and trade cooperation between two countries during the meeting between the top leaders, officials said.
"The two leaders discussed exploring new avenues of cooperation," they said.
One of the areas discussed was the building sector, where Sri Lankan can get building materials from Pakistan.
The agreements inked between the two nations would enable them to work closely on prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotics and improve cultural exchanges, an external affairs ministry official said.
Both countries will be able to prevent trafficking of sensitive goods, weapons and narcotics under the agreement and assist each other to prevent customs frauds and facilitate investigations.
An agreement on cultural cooperation will facilitate strengthening of mutual relations in culture, arts, education, information and media.
Jayaratne thanked Pakistan for the assistance they had given during Sri Lanka`s war with the LTTE, an official of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister office told PTI soon after the meeting.
Next to China, Pakistan was the main supplier of military hardware to Sri Lanka. Pakistan also provided training for the Lankan military personnel.
Zardari, who arrived yesterday on his first official visit of Colombo after assuming office over two years ago, was accorded a warm welcome by the President Mahinda Rajapksa at the Bandaranaike international airport.
Zardari is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar and other top officials.
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