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February 24, 2021

CPEC to enhance S Lanka connectivity up to Central Asia

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APP
February 24, 2021

COLOMBO: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said Sri Lanka could enhance its connectivity up to the Central Asian states by benefiting from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

“My visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral relationship [with Sri Lanka], especially trade and economic ties through enhanced connectivity,” he said while addressing a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa here after holding one-on-one and delegation level talks.

The prime minister, who is in Sri Lanka on a two-day visit, said he had asked his delegation to find ways and means to enhance trade and economic relations between the two countries through increased connectivity.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Mahinda Rajapaksa also held wide-ranging discussions with focus on reinforcing a broad-based and enduring partnership between the two countries to advance the shared objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity in South Asia.

During the extensive consultations held here at the Temple Trees (Prime Minister’s Office), Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Sri Lankan counterpart reaffirmed their resolve to work together across a broad range of areas.

The one-on-one meeting between the two prime ministers was followed by delegation-level talks between the two sides.

They acknowledged the immense opportunities and vast potential for mutually beneficial collaboration in the areas of trade and investment, IT and human resource development, agriculture and science and technology, security and defence cooperation, and culture and tourism.

Appreciating the rich Buddhist heritage of Pakistan and existence of great potential for religious tourism, it was agreed to enhance mutual collaboration including through sharing expertise in the hospitality industry, training and capacity-building.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to further deepen strategic communication and coordination at all levels.

It was also agreed to keep the momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries.

The two sides noted that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka had done relatively well in handling the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

In the international context, the importance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries to mitigate the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic was highlighted.

Imran underscored Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in the region.

He also underlined the imperative of constructive engagement by all sides to promote a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s shifting focus from geo-strategic to geo-economics was underscored.

The three pillars of Pakistan’s economic security vision - peace, development partnerships, and connectivity - were emphasized.

The prime minister emphasized the importance of resolving disputes through dialogue and promoting the vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond.

The two sides reiterated their commitment to the principles and objectives of the Saarc Charter and agreed on the importance of taking forward the Saarc process for regional cooperation.

Imran expressed deep appreciation and sincere gratitude to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.

He extended a cordial invitation to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.

The two leaders witnessed the signing ceremony of important MOUs (memorandums of understanding) on cooperation in the fields of tourism, investment, education, and technology.

The meeting was followed by a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in honour of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his delegation.