News Sri Lankan President to visit Pakistan to boost bilateral ties

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Mar 5, 2010
ISLAMABAD: President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa will pay a three-day state visit to Pakistan from Feb 10 to further strengthen political, economic and defence ties between the two countries.

The visit, on the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari will further strengthen special bonds of affinity that characterize relations between the two countries, a statement from the Foreign Office said.

During his visit, President Rajapaksha will meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The talks between the two countries would cover political, defense, cultural, tourism, media, economic, business and trade relations. A number of bilateral agreements are also expected to be signed between the two sides.

Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in South Asia. Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan, to reduce barriers, which led to a significant increase.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have also agreed to offer preferential market access to each others' exports by granting tariff concessions.

Sri Lanka enjoys duty free market access on 206 products in Pakistan, while Pakistan has duty free access on 102 products in the Sri Lankan market.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1948, the two countries have consistently maintained close, cordial and mutually supportive relationship.

The Srilankan delegation will include Srilankan Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring member of the Srilankan parliament, Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President of Srilanka, Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary, Karunatillake Amunugama, and President's Spokesman and International Media Advisor Bandula Jayasekara, beside other Senior officials.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will also visit Taxila Museum and Buddhist heritage sites that have the ruins of the Gandharan city of 'Takasila' an important Buddhist centre of the era. (APP)