The sixth round of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Foreign Office Consultations was convened by virtual mode on 16 December 2020 after a lapse of three years under the co-chairmanship of Foreign Secretaries Admiral (Prof) Jayanath Colombage and Ambassador Sohail Mahmood respectively.
During the Consultations, a wide range of issues reflecting the robust collaboration between the two countries were discussed. This covered trade and investment, culture and tourism, defence cooperation, agriculture and animal husbandry, education and technical cooperation, sports and media, aviation sectors with emphasis on a deliverable work agenda.
Foreign Secretary Admiral (Prof) Colombage underscored the realignment of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations towards neutrality and neighbourhood centric cooperation, based on the three pillars of national security, economic development and foreign policy. Foreign Secretary Ambassador Mahmood assured Pakistan’s full support for Sri Lanka’s development agenda through enhanced collaborations.
In order to address the constraints in achieving the full benefits of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) that was signed in 2002, both sides agreed to revitalize the already established affiliated bilateral instruments. As PSFTA was Pakistan’s first such bilateral trade mechanism with another country, Foreign Secretary Mahmood stressed the need to expand its activities to capital and investment fields. Sri Lanka thanked Pakistan for the forthright support given to the Sri Lankans in Pakistan, particularly students, when the Covid-19 outbreak emerged. Both Foreign Secretaries endorsed rapid action to finalize the pending bilateral instruments without delay, while expediting the credit line projects implementation.
Along with Foreign Secretary Admiral (Prof) Colombage, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Islamabad Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama, Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Karachi G.L.Gnanatheva and Senior Officials of the Foreign Ministry, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Education and the Representatives of the SriLankan Airlines participated at the virtual Consultations.
17 December 2020