Political will to take ties to the next level: Qureshi

Foreign minister apprises Sri Lankan counterpart on Kashmir dispute

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ISLAMABAD/ COLOMBO

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on newly elected President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa here on Monday and discussed bilateral relations, regional situation and matters of mutual interest. On behalf of Pakistani leadership and nation, the foreign minister felicitated Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh President of Sri Lanka. Shah Mahmood Qureshi also handed over a letter of President Arif Alvi to the Sri Lankan President inviting him to visit Pakistan.

The Foreign Minister expressed the confidence that under the leadership of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations will gain further strength. He also appreciated the Sri Lankan people for valiantly fighting the scourge of terrorism. The Sri Lankan President thanked the Pakistani leadership for extending him felicitation on his election and inviting him to visit Pakistan.

Prior to the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi briefed his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena on the dire situation and human rights crisis in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), said Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

Foreign minister Qureshi also called on Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. At the meeting, according to Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, the two discussed the deepening and further strengthening of bilateral ties. Very positive interaction, deepening and further strengthening of bilateral relations discussed. Political will on both sides to take the relationship to the next level. A phenomenal day for Pakistan – Sri Lanka relations, he tweeted.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also briefed his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena on the dire situation and human rights crisis in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), said Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

The FO spokesperson said Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the Sri Lankan foreign minister that the 100-day plus lockdown remains a cause of serious concern for the international community. During the meeting, the two ministers discussed trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contact as well.

The spokesperson said, both countries [are] very keen to further deepen and strengthen the entire gamut of bilateral relations. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed his meeting with the Sri Lankan foreign minister as excellent and extended an invitation to Gunawardena to visit Islamabad.

Shah mehmood Qureshi could be seen saying, I’m fortunate to be the first foreign minister to have visited Colombo since the new government had been elected. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that during the meeting the two ministers discussed the ways in which they can take the relations forward, saying; there is a lot we can do to promote our mutual interest.

Foreign Minister Qureshi is on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka and became the first foreign minister to visit the country after its elections. The foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is expected to meet the recently elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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