Sri Lanka, Pakistan agree to expand relationship, trade ties

2021-02-24 01:06:02 GMT2021-02-24 09:06:02(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

COLOMBO, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to expand their bilateral relationship and trade ties during Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's official visit to the island country.

Following discussions held with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday, Khan said Pakistan is part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, under which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a flagship project.

The Pakistani prime minister said he aimed to enhance trade and connectivity with Sri Lanka through CPEC, which Sri Lanka could also establish its connectivity right up to Central Asia.

He said Sri Lanka and Pakistan also share a common problem of terrorism as Pakistan had suffered 10 years of terror while Sri Lanka had suffered 30 years of terror which it had combated.

"I am pleased to say that Pakistan played its part to help Sri Lanka resolve its problem which was impeding their development and growth, and a country which relies on tourism can never progress if there is terrorism. It cannot even have investments," Khan said.

He said as the COVID-19 pandemic is a new issue faced by the world, both Rajapaksa and he discussed how the developed countries could help the developing world presently.

Rajapaksa, when addressing the media, said Pakistan continued to be a valuable bilateral partner, and a close and genuine friend.

He said both Khan and he agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the economic sector and a number of other areas including trade, investment, science, technology, defense and education.

Both countries also agreed to pursue the opportunities presented within the framework of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and their talks also focused on important regional and international issues as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Khan arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday for his first visit to the island nation. The two countries signed several MoUs following the discussions between the two prime ministers, a statement from the Prime Minister's office said.

Khan is expected to hold discussions with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday and take part in a business and investment forum. Enditem