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

“There’s not a moment to lose,” President François Hollande told the Assembly’s general debate on its opening day. “I therefore called on all countries to speedily conclude all steps before the end of the year.”On Africa, he proposed an “Agenda 2020” to give all Africans access to electricity, and warned that there will be no development there without security being guaranteed, noting France’s own intervention in 2013 that prevented terrorists from seizing control of Mali.“Today the threat is posed mainly by Boko Haram (in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region) and organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Da’esh [also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant],” he said.“Faced with this scourge the countries of West Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad region know they can count on France. We are at their sides, we are training them, we are supporting them in all fields, including the crucial need for intelligence,” he added.On Syria, Mr. Hollande said France would call on the UN Security Council to meet and advance four demands: impose a ceasefire, demand the immediate and unconditional provision of humanitarian aid to Aleppo and other besieged cities, allow for the resumption of political negotiations, and denounce and impose sanction on the regime’s recent use of chemical weapons.“The conflict has caused 400,000 deaths, Aleppo is a martyred city, thousands of children have been crushed under bombs, entire communities starved, humanitarian convoys are attacked, chemical weapons are used,” he declared. “Enough already! The Syrian tragedy will stand before history to shame this Assembly if we do not end it now,” he stated.Mr. Hollande said France is also seeking a meeting by the end of the year where Israel and then Palestinians will have both the capacity and responsibility to negotiate a solution to their conflict based on two states living side by side in peace and security. read more