PM: (Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to increase trade to $ 1 bln)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka have agreed to enhance bilateral trade up to one billion dollars per annum besides increasing cooperation in various other fields.

This was stated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena while addressing a joint news conference after holding talks here on Monday.

Nawaz Sharif said both the countries signed six agreements with an objective to enhance mutual cooperation in the fields of sports, shipping, tourism, economic development, anti-narcoticis and disaster management. He said these agreements will pave way for further expanding bilateral ties.

He said both the countries have similar view on almost all regional and international issues. He said we also discussed cooperation in the defence sector besides other fields. He said Pakistan intends to maintain good relations with all neighbouring countries and give special priority to promote its ties with Sri Lanka.

In his remarks, Sri Lankan President said his country intends to further increase trade volume with Pakistan besides intensifying mutual cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples. He said we need to further enhance people to people contacts and joint research activities in various fields with Pakistan. He invited PIA to resume its flights for Colombo.

The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that Joint Working Groups on trade, investment, automotive sector and customs cooperation will enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.

He said Pakistan is home to Buddhist Civilization and heritage and there is great potential for religious tourism between our two countries. He said SAARC is an important vehicle for regional cooperation as well as for promoting peace, stability and progress.

The Sri Lankan President expressed profound gratitude to Pakistan for extending support to eliminate terrorism from his country. He invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Colombo. Later, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hosted a luncheon in honor of the Sri lankan President.

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