Pak PM to discuss trade, regional security
[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 November 2004, 13:26 GMT]
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz, is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on Sunday 21 November on a two-day visit. He will mainly hold talks on a free trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. A press note issued by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo Saturday noted that the Pakistan PM's discussions with his counterpart in Colombo "will also focus on enhancing trade as the current trade volume neither reflects the warm political relations between the two governments nor does it match the aspirations of the people".
The following is the full text of the Pakistan HC press note:
"The Prime Minister is visiting Sri Lanka in his capacity as Chairman of SAARC. It is a SAARC tradition that the Chairman makes farewell calls to SAARC capitals before the next summit. The visit gives an opportunity to the Prime Minister to discuss with Sri Lankan leadership his vision for revitalization of SAARC regional security situation and ways and means to enhance bilateral relations with Sri Lanka.
The fact that Sri Lanka has always played an important role in pushing the SAARC process forward adds further importance to this visit.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy very cordial and friendly relations based on mutual cooperation and commonality of interests.
The two countries closely interact in the fields of culture, education and sports.
The two-way trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka during 2003- 2004 was US$ 146.24 million.
Both countries are currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement, which would lead to more business opportunities for traders of the two countries.
The Federal Ministers of Petroleum, Railways, Water and Power, Ministers of State for Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Overseas Pakistanis and some Members of the Parliament will be travelling with the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse will receive the Prime Minister on his arrival at Bandaranaike airport and escort him to the guard of honour to be presented by a contingent of Sri Lanka Navy.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will call on President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in the afternoon and meet Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse later in the evening.
The leaders will review the whole gamut of bilateral relations besides exchanging views on regional and international issues. They will also focus on enhancing trade as the current trade volume neither reflects the warm political relations between the two governments nor does it match the aspirations of the people.
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka will also host a banquet in honour of the Prime Minister of Pakistan and members of his delegation.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will address a cross section of Sri Lankan society on Monday to share his views on regional and global issues.
He will leave for Maldives later in the afternoon on Monday 22 November".