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Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan to boost ties

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will visit Pakistan on February 10 for talks aimed at boosting bilateral cooperation in trade and defence.



Islamabad: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will visit Pakistan on February 10 for talks aimed
at boosting bilateral cooperation in areas as diverse as trade
and defence.

Rajapaksa will make a three-day state visit at the
invitation of his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, the
Foreign Office said in a statement today.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy "friendly and close
cooperative relations" and Rajapaksa`s visit will "contribute
to further strengthening of the special bonds of affinity",
the statement said.

The Sri Lankan President`s delegation will include Foreign
Minister G L Peiris, Foreign Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama
and other senior officials.

In Islamabad, Rajapaksa will hold talks with Zardari and
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to strengthen political,
defence, cultural, economic and trade relations, officials
said.

A number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed
during the visit.

Rajapaksa will also visit a museum and a Buddhist heritage
site in Taxila.

Officials said both countries have "shared common
perceptions on almost all regional and international issues".

The last high-level meeting between the leaders of
Pakistan and Sri Lanka took place on the sidelines of the
SAARC Summit in the Maldives, where Prime Minister Gilani held
talks with President Rajapaksa.

In November 2010, President Zardari made a state visit to
Sri Lanka.

Pakistan is Sri Lanka`s second largest trading partner in
South Asia and Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a free
trade agreement with Pakistan.

Under the FTA, the two countries agreed to offer
preferential market access to each other`s exports through
tariff concessions.

The two countries also have comprehensive training
collaboration between their militaries.

PTI

From Zee News

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