President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who met with the visiting Foreign Affairs Minister of Pakistan today requested Pakistan to help Sri Lanka in the fight against Islamic extremism.
He conveyed this when Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister Shad Mahmood Qureshi called on him at the Presidential Secretariat today, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.
President Rajapaksa also sought Pakistan’s assistance in eradicating the drug menace in Sri Lanka. “Drug trafficking and addiction are grave evil my country is confronted with. We wish to seek Pakistan’s assistance to eradicate this menace,” the President said.
Commenting on trade between the two countries, President Rajapaksa said efforts should be made to ensure continuous and enhanced growth in trade and investment on a mutually-beneficial basis instead of looking for financial assistance. The President highlighted the case of betel exports to Pakistan as an example.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi extended warm greetings to the President on his and his government’s behalf and expressed Pakistan’s interest in further strengthening bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, especially in areas of economic development, trade, security and regional cooperation.
“We already have close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lanka. Pakistan hopes to further develop them to widen the scope of cooperation. My government is willing to work with Sri Lanka to conserve and develop Buddhist heritage found in Pakistan. We are eagerly awaiting your visit to Pakistan at your earliest,” Minister Qureshi said.
The Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister was accompanied by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Tanvir Ahmad, Acting High Commissioner in Colombo. (Lahiru Pothmulla)