The Prime Minister, who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka, said that today both countries comprehensively reviewed the whole range of the multifaceted bilateral relationship, in the fields of political interactions, trade and commerce, defence, education, science and technology, culture and agriculture etc.He said the talks were held in a warm friendly and cordial atmosphere and were marked by full trust and complete understanding. The Prime Minister said that both sides reached broad consensus on ways and means to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation in a comprehensive manner. “They are marked by cordiality and commonality of views on major regional and global issues and close cooperation in the multilateral forums. Both sides wish to further deepen and broaden these ties through regular high level contacts and exchange of visits,” he said. The Pakistan Prime Minister said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations, based on mutual respect and shared interests. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today thanked Sri Lanka for the support extended during Pakistan’s most difficult times.He also invited President Maithripala Sirisena to visit Pakistan at an early date so that the relations of mutual trust and confidence can be further enhanced. “We have agreed to hold frequent summit level meetings, promote parliamentary exchanges and enhance the process of consultations, cooperation and coordination between our respective institutions. We also discussed the issues related to the implementation of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. The two countries have agreed on the inclusion of Services and Investments chapters in the bilateral FTA. This would enable our companies to form joint ventures for export to third countries. Sri Lanka enjoys exceptional position of being the first country with which Pakistan entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The present volume of trade (approx. US $325 million) does not reflect true potential. We have agreed to re-invigorate our efforts to realize the goal of achieving US $1 billion bilateral trade target at the earliest. I re-iterated Pakistan’s offer to setup Cement and Sugar Plants in Sri Lanka, on mutually agreed terms, for the long term benefit of Sri Lankan economy. We have also conveyed our readiness to welcome Sri Lankan investment in Pakistan. We have also expressed satisfaction on the work of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission in promoting bilateral trade,” he said.The Pakistan Prime Minister also said that both sides expressed their satisfaction at the existing bilateral cooperation in the field of Defence. He conveyed his desire for more frequent port calls, participation in military exercises and fence seminars and training of military personnel.Both sides also agreed to give further impetus of their cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, healthcare, agriculture, tourism, sporting contacts, cultural exchanges and people to people contacts. (Colombo Gazette) read more