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* Sri Lanka, Pakistan, to make efforts to strengthen bilateral ties
Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 02:15 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 17, Islamabad: Sri Lanka and Pakistan enjoy excellent relations and there was strong political will on both sides to further develop and promote the bilateral relations between the two countries, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said Friday.

During a meeting with Sri Lanka's Minister for Irrigation and Water Management Nimal Siripala De Silva, Sharif said there were vast opportunities for increasing the bilateral trade and both sides should make efforts to enhance the volume of the trade to achieve maximum benefits.

Sri Lankan Minister is visiting Pakistan as special envoy of the President of Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister's office said in a statement Friday.

The Prime Minister discussing the matters relating to bilateral relations pointed out the need for both sides to work towards concluding Comprehensive Economic Policy Agreement (CEPA) by 2016.

While noting that both sides should encourage the private sectors to invest in each other's economies, Pakistani Premier has also emphasized that the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries should be made more conducive by increasing the volume of trade.

Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA), which came into force in mid-2005, has helped the two nations enhance their bilateral trade significantly.

Prime Minister Sharif recalled his meetings with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New York and in Colombo and hoped that the Summit level contacts will help in further boosting the relations.

The PM, assuring continued support to Sri Lanka at International forums, has extended an invitation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan.

Reciprocating the PM's warm greetings, the Sri Lankan Minister has said that the relations between the two countries will further enhance due to keen interest of both the Pakistani and Sri Lankan leadership.

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