Sri Lanka throws weight behind Pakistan’s bid to host SAARC summit: FO


ISLAMABAD: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has promised to support Pakistan’s bid to host the next South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, the Foreign Office said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The Lankan president, in a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, said that the trade body must be strengthened in order to enhance regional cooperation.

Last year, Saarc summit was scheduled to be held in Pakistan, but it had to be cancelled after India bailed out on it. President Sirisena urged Pakistan to invest in Sri Lanka’s sugar and cement industry as the country’s current production does not match its requirement. He told Janjua that currently Sri Lanka only fulfils 20 per cent of its total demand.

Sirisena thanked Pakistan for its continued support, especially at the United Nations Human Rights Council “as a true friend and a brother, during the period of conflict in the country”. Janjua is in Colombo along with a Pakistani delegation to hold the fifth round of bilateral political consultations with Sri Lanka. She will also launch the Pakistan Alumni Society of Sri Lanka during her stay.

The foreign secretary assured Sirisena that Pakistan will support Sri Lanka’s livestock and dairy sectors, adding that deliberations between the two countries are already underway. She said that Pakistan will continue to assist development projects in Sri Lanka

JANJUA MEETS LANKAN PREMIER: Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua also called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday. The prime minister, welcoming the visit of the foreign secretary, emphasised that Pakistan and Sri Lanka needed to expand bilateral trade and economic ties. The secretary said that leadership in Pakistan was also desirous of further strengthening bilateral relations in diverse fields.