ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday said that there was a strong political will between Pakistan and Sri Lanka to further develop and promote their political relations.

“Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations and there is a strong political will on both sides,” said the PM in a meeting with Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister for Irrigation and Water Management of Sri Lanka. He said that there were vast opportunities for increasing the bilateral trade.  The PM said both the sides should make efforts to enhance the volume of the trade to achieve maximum benefits. Nirmal is visiting Pakistan as special envoy of the President of Sri Lanka. Matters relating to bilateral relations were discussed.

Meanwhile, the visiting Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management of Sri Lanka Nimal Siripala de Silva called on Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs’ Tariq Fatemi and exchanged views on a wide gamut of bilateral and regional issues. The Sri Lankan Minister, who is on four-day visit to Pakistan, also discussed the multilateral issues, including cooperation in SAARC, Commonwealth and various UN bodies. The two sides appreciated that the recent summit level meetings between the PM of Pakistan and the President of Sri Lanka, in New York and Colombo in September and November 2013 respectively, had provided further momentum to the expanding bilateral ties.

The Special Envoy’s engagements include call on the President, Chairman Senate, Minister of State for Water and Power. Tariq Fatemi and the Sri Lankan Special Envoy agreed that while the two countries enjoyed close and cordial relations, there was a need to further strengthen the economic and commercial ties through enhanced trade, investment and joint ventures.  Both sides also stressed the importance of strengthening SAARC and sharing best practices within the region particularly in economic and social cooperation and poverty alleviation sectors.

Both also agreed to continue with their existing cooperation and support on issues of mutual interest in the organisations including support to each other’s candidatures in the Commonwealth and UN organs.