Pak, Lanka to strengthen cooperation in defence, banking

The Sri Lankan President extended his deep sense of gratitude to Pakistan for helping in surmounting the cause of terrorism in his country.

Islamabad: Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Saturday
agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas as diverse as
defence and banking and to work together to promote peace and
security in the region.

Both sides reached "broad consensus" on strengthening
bilateral cooperation in a comprehensive manner and on "common
endeavours for promoting peace and security in the region and
the world", said a joint statement issued after visiting Sri
Lankan President Mahinda Rajapkasa held talks with Pakistan’s
top leadership.

The two sides expressed satisfaction at ongoing defence
and security cooperation, the joint statement said.
They agreed to continue cooperation in regional and
international forums and to work together to promoting
regional cooperation under SAARC.

Rajapaksa called on his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali
Zardari yesterday and held delegation-level talks with Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani this afternoon.

During the talks between Rajapaksa and Gilani, the two
sides agreed to continue cooperation in defence, agriculture,
banking, shipping and tourism, said a statement from the
premier’s office.

The Sri Lankan President extended his "deep sense of
gratitude to Pakistan for helping in surmounting the cause of
terrorism in his country".

Both sides agreed to make their Joint Ministerial
Commission more effective to boost cooperation in all sectors.
The next meeting of the Commission will be held in Colombo
this year.

They further agreed to explore opportunities for
investments in construction, education, agriculture and
shipping, and to enhance bilateral trade to two billion
dollars by 2015.

Following the talks between Gilani and Rajapaksa, the two
countries signed three memorandums of understanding to promote
cooperation in trade, technical education and media.

The MoU on trade relates to a credit line of 200 million
dollars for improving Pakistan`s exports. Both sides agreed to
take steps to enhance air and sea connectivity, including
joint ventures between their shipping corporations.

Rajapaksa visited Pakistan at Zardari`s invitation with a
delegation that included Foreign Minister G L Peiris, Deputy
Youth Affairs Minister Duminda Dissanayake, Deputy Technology
Minister Faiszer Musthapha and senior officials.

He also visited Taxila, an important centre of Buddhist
learning and a testimony to Pakistan`s rich Gandhara heritage.

PTI

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