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On the invitation of President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Asif Ali Zardari, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, paid a state visit to Pakistan from 10 to 11 February 2012.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was accorded a warm welcome. He held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. Both the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan hosted banquets in honour of the visiting Sri Lankan President. The Sri Lankan President also visited Taxila, which was the first centre of Buddhist learning and a testimony to Pakistan’s rich Gandhara heritage.

The talks between the leaders of Sri Lanka and Pakistan were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and were marked by full trust and complete understanding. Both sides reached broad consensus on ways and means to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation in a comprehensive manner and on their common endeavours for promoting peace and security in the region and the world.

Both sides underscored the importance that they attached to the special bonds of affinity that existed between the two countries, which were based on their rich historical and cultural interactions as well as the shared aspirations of their people for peace, progress and prosperity.

Both sides agreed to hold frequent summit level meetings, promote parliamentary exchanges and enhance the process of consultations, cooperation and coordination between their respective institutions.

Both sides attached importance to the Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and considered this to be a valuable instrument to optimally utilize their considerable economic potential. They expressed satisfaction on the work of their Joint Economic Commission in taking all requisite steps to enhance two-way trade. It was agreed to make special efforts to increase the bilateral trade to over $ 2 billion by 2015.

Both sides also agreed to promote financial and banking sector cooperation. It was agreed that the Governors of their Central Banks will take all requisite steps to promoting such cooperation, including the opening of bank branches and trading in local currencies.

Both sides also agreed to create an enabling environment to facilitate and to provide incentives to their private sectors to develop mutually-beneficial project cooperation and joint ventures.

Both sides also agreed to give further impetus to their cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, healthcare, agriculture, tourism, sporting contacts, cultural exchanges and people to people contacts. Both sides also agreed to prioritize cooperation in the field of gems and jewellery.

Pakistani side offered training facilities in the field of banking, information technology, engineering and medical sciences to Sri Lanka.

Both sides would also develop institutional links between their universities and research institutions.

Both sides expressed satisfaction on the defence and security cooperation.

Both sides also agreed to take steps to enhance air and sea connectivity including joint ventures between their respective shipping corporations.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan and the President of Sri Lanka witnessed the signing of the following agreements/MoUs:

a) MoU for Cooperation in the Field of Media between the Ministry of Mass Media and Information of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of Pakistan.

b) MoU between Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka and National Vocational and Technical Education Commission of Pakistan.

c) MoU between the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on a credit line up to a sum of US$ 200 million.

Pakistan expressed its gratitude and thanks to the Sri Lankan Government for its valuable assistance in coping and containing the outbreak of the Dengue fever in Pakistan last year.

Both sides agreed to continue their cooperation in regional and international fora and to work together to promoting regional cooperation under the SAARC auspices.

Both sides expressed their complete satisfaction on the outcome of the state visit by the Sri Lankan President to Pakistan, which constituted another milestone in the joint endeavours of the two countries to take Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations to new heights.

11 February 2012

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