Prez seeks Pak assistance to fight drug menace, Islamic extremism in Lanka


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday informed Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi that Sri Lanka needed Pakistani assistance to eradicate the drug menace and fight against Islamic extremism. This request was made when they met yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister expressed Pakistan’s keen interest in further strengthening bilateral relations with Sri Lanka especially in the areas of economic development, trade, security cooperation and regional cooperation. "We already have very close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lankaand Pakistan hopes to further develop them widening the scope of cooperation," he observed.

Qureshi said his government was willing to work with Sri Lanka to conserve and develop the Buddhist heritage found in his country. "We are eagerly waiting for your visit to Pakistan at your earliest", the minister added.

President Rajapaksa in his remarks said that rather than looking for financial assistance, efforts should be made to ensure continuous and enhanced growth in trade and investments on a mutually beneficial basis. The President highlighted the case of betel exports to Pakistan as an example.

"Drug trafficking and addiction is a grave evil that my country is confronted with. We wish to seek Pakistan’s assistance to eradicate this menace", the President said. President Rajapaksa also requested the government of Pakistan to help Sri Lanka in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Pakistan Foreign Minister was accompanied by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tanvir Ahmad, Acting High Commissioner in Colombo.

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