Dec 02, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sought Pakistan's assistance to boost bilateral trade and eradicate the drug menace plaguing his country when met Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Minister Shad Mahmood Qureshi on Monday in Colombo.
Qureshi, who is on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka called on President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon (02).
Foreign Minister extending warm greetings to President Rajapaksa on his and his government's behalf expressed Pakistan's keen interest in further strengthening bilateral relations with Sri Lanka especially in the areas of economic development, trade, security cooperation and regional cooperation.
"We already have very close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lanka. Pakistan hopes to further develop them widening the scope of cooperation", he observed.
President Rajapaksa in his remarks said that rather than looking for financial assistance, efforts should be made to ensure continuous and enhanced growth in trade and investments on a mutually beneficial basis. The President highlighted the case of betel exports to Pakistan as an example.
"Drug trafficking and addiction is a grave evil that my country is confronted with. We wish to seek Pakistan's assistance to eradicate this menace," the President said.
President Rajapaksa also requested the government of Pakistan to help Sri Lanka in the fight against Islamic extremism.
Minister Qureshi said his government is willing to work with Sri Lanka to conserve and develop the Buddhist heritage found in his country.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister handed over a letter from Pakistan President Arif Alvi to President Rajapaksa and invited him to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.
"We are eagerly waiting for your visit to Pakistan at your earliest," Minister Qureshi added.
Pakistan Foreign Minister was accompanied by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tanvir Ahmad, Acting High Commissioner in Colombo.