SHANGHAI - President Mamnoon Hussain underlined the need for regional countries to forge close cooperative relationships to overcome shared challenges, on one hand, and to promote mutual economic cooperation for the socio-economic betterment of the people, on the other.

During his meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday on the sidelines of CICA Summit (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia) being held in Shanghai, President Mamnoon observed that the regional countries shared economic and social challenges and it was important that bilateral as well as multilateral multifaceted cooperation among regional countries is further strengthened.

Briefing about the meeting, Press Secretary to the President, Ms. Saba Mohsin Raza said that the two Presidents discussed a whole gamut of issues ranging from Pak-Sri Lanka bilateral relations to further strengthening mutual cooperation and from the shared economic and social challenges to the issues of extremism in the region were discussed.

She said President Mamnoon reiterated that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Sri Lanka in the bilateral as well as regional context. The President said there was a strong desire in Pakistan to further develop and promote bilateral equation for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries. He underlined the need for the two countries to continue working closely to sustain and build on the useful linkages, both in the context of regional security and in the political and economic fields.

Discussing bilateral economic relations, President Mamnoon, while expressing great appreciation of Sri Lanka's rapid economic progress under the visionary leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, underscored the need for greater efforts on both sides to translate the existing excellent relationship of the two countries into economic and commercial terms.

President Mamnoon called for expeditious conclusion of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Sri Lanka which he said would help further strengthening bilateral economic interactions. The two President expressed satisfaction on the progress made so far in two rounds of technical level talks.

Separately, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and President Mamnoon held a meeting in Shanghai on the sidelines of CICA. Both the dignitaries discussed regional situation.