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22 November 2017 Last updated 12 minutes ago

Sri Lanka backs Pakistan bid to host Saarc summit: Foreign Office

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has promised to support Pakistan's bid to host the next South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit, read a Foreign Office statement issued on Wednesday.

In a meeting with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Sirisena said that the trade body must be strengthened in order to enhance regional cooperation.

Last year, the Saarc summit was scheduled to be held in Pakistan, however, it had to be cancelled after India refused to attend the meeting.

Janjua is in Colombo along with a Pakistani delegation to hold the fifth round of bilateral political consultations with Sri Lanka. She will also launch the Pakistan Alumni Society of Sri Lanka during her stay.

President Sirisena urged Pakistan to invest in Sri Lanka's sugar and cement industry as the country's current production does not match its requirement. He told Janjua that currently Sri Lanka only fulfils 20 per cent of its total demand.

The foreign secretary assured Sirisena that Pakistan will support Sri Lanka's livestock and dairy sectors, adding that deliberations between the two countries are already underway. She said that Pakistan will continue to assist development projects in Sri Lanka.

Sirisena thanked Pakistan for its continued support, especially at the United Nations Human Rights Council "as a true friend and a brother, during the period of conflict in the country".