PM arrives in Sri Lanka on three-day official visit

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan 4 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday arrived in the Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo to hold meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership on issues of mutual interest.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe received Prime Minister Sharif on his arrival at the Bandranaike International Airport.

A red carpet was rolled out for Prime Minister Sharif and a contingent of Sri Lankan forces presented static guard of honour to him.

Two children clad in traditional dresses presented bouquets to Prime Minister Sharif and Begum Kalsoom Nawaz.

The Prime Minister’s delegation included Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and National Security Advisor Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (retd) Syed Shakil Hussain and senior officials of the Sri Lankan government were present at the airport.

The Prime Minister is undertaking the visit on the invitation of President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena.

During his stay in Colombo, the Prime Minister will lead the bilateral and delegation-level talks to be joined by the Sri Lankan President, Prime Minister and cabinet ministers.

The two countries will sign several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of health, science and technology, trade, statistics, gem and jewellery, money laundering and terrorism financing, and culture.

The Prime Minister will attend a state banquet hosted in his honour by the President Maithripala and a lunch by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Prime Minister Sharif will deliver a special lecture to parliamentarians, ministers and members of diplomatic corps,  on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

The Prime Minister will also visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, International Buddhist Museum and Jinnah Hall in the historic city of Kandy.

The two governments have maintained high-level bilateral interactions including President Maithripala’s state visit to Pakistan from April 5-7, 2015. Prime Minister Sharif and President Maithripala also met on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York in September and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November last year.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy friendly and cordial relations.

The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1948. Since then, the bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength.

Being members of SAARC and Commonwealth, Pakistan and Sri Lanka cooperate closely and coordinate with each other on issues of common interest and regional and international concern.