Tuesday August 16, 2022

PM to visit Sri Lanka on 23rd

February 20, 2021

ISLAMABAD: After weeks of speculation, the Foreign Office finally on Friday announced the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Sri Lanka on the invitation of his Sri Lanka counterpart Mahindra Rajapaksa.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan will undertake a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka from 23 February 2021. This will be his first visit to Sri Lanka after assuming the office,” said the Foreign Office, adding that besides bilateral matters and views would be exchanged on key regional and international issues. Earlier, The News had reported on February 10 about the upcoming visit with the Foreign Office confirming it but reluctant to give details.

The prime minister will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the cabinet and senior officials.

Officials told this reporter that the program of the prime minister was still being finalized and despite attempts by Pakistan, Khan’s address to Sri Lankan Parliament had to be scrapped. On Thursday, when asked about the cancellation of Khan’s address to the Parliament, the Foreign Office Spokesman commented, “The two sides are currently working on the elements of the programme of the prime minister’s visit, keeping in view the COVID-19 related health safety protocols. Further details of the prime minister’s visit will be shared in due course”.

During the visit, the reconstitution of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Association will be also announced to further promote parliamentary exchanges between the two countries.

The prime minister’s programes includes meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The prime minister will also lead the delegation-level talks, covering all areas of cooperation between the two countries including trade and investment, health and education, agriculture and science & technology, defence and security, and culture and tourism.

He will also participate in a joint ‘Trade and Investment Conference’ aimed at promoting trade and investment between the two countries. A number of MoUs to enhance bilateral cooperation will be signed during the visit.

“Pakistan and Sri Lanka have maintained close, cordial and mutually supportive relations since 1948. The two countries share commonality of views on a wide range of international and regional issues. Both sides also work closely at the international and regional fora including the United Nations and SAARC”, said the Foreign Office.