Onlanka News – By Janaka Alahapperuma
(Pix by: Sudath Silva)
President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Islamabad entering a new chapter in friendly ties with Pakistan today on 10 February. Sri Lankan President embarked on a two-day official tour at the invitation of his Pakistani counterpart President Zardari.
Chairman of the Pakistani Senate Sharuk Hameed Naike and Minister of Sports Sorket Ullah warmly greeted President Rajapaksa on his arrival at the Chaklala Air Base in Islamabad. The Pakistani military accorded a 21 gun salute to the visiting President. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Jayalath Weerakkody, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ms Seema Illahi Baloch, Senior Pakistani Government officials and Sri Lankan embassy staff were present at the Airport.
During the two day official visit President Rajapaksa will hold bilateral discussions with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. The two sides will discuss how they can strengthen the political, defence, cultural, tourist, media, economic, business and trade relations. Two agreements related to media cooperation and vocational training are due to be inked.
Both countries have shared common perceptions on almost all regional and international issues and have a strong history of working together. Pakistan has been a close ally of Sri Lanka and it has always extended its support and her people unreservedly.
The President is joined in this tour by Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris, Deputy Ministers Faizer Mustapha and Duminda Dissanayake, Parliamentarian Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge and Foreign Secretary Karunatilake Amunugama.