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Gotabaya seeks Pakistan help to fight drug trafficking, extremism

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

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President Rajapaksa also requested the government of Pakistan to help Sri Lanka in the fight against Islamist extremism, the statement said.

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has sought Pakistan’s help in tackling drug trafficking and Islamist extremism, his office said on Monday.

“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 in a statement, following his meeting with visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. President Rajapaksa also requested the government of Pakistan to help Sri Lanka in the fight against Islamist extremism, the statement said.

“We already have very close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lanka. Pakistan hopes to further develop them widening the scope of cooperation”, Mr. Qureshi said, adding that his government was willing to work with Sri Lanka to “conserve and develop” Buddhist heritage in Pakistan. “We are eagerly waiting for your visit to Pakistan at your earliest”, Mr. Qureshi added, Mr. Gotabaya’s office said.

The visit comes days after Mr. Gotabaya met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister also met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to convey a special message from his Prime Minister Imran Khan, a statement said.

In a letter hand-delivered to Mr. Mahinda, Mr. Khan extended an invitation to him to visit Pakistan. Mr. Mahinda has accepted the invitation, his office said. “We’re happy Sri Lanka is back in experienced hands,” Mr. Qureshi said.

The discussion focussed on topics including trade, fighting terrorism, youth affairs, unemployment, agriculture and cricket.

Several foreign dignitaries and envoys have been reaching out to the Rajapaksa brothers, Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President and newly-appointed PM, over the last two weeks.

On Monday, Mr. Gotabaya tweeted: “I was pleased to meet with the Special Representative of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mr. Wu Jianghao and had cordial discussions on #China - #LKA relations.”

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:01:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/gotabaya-seeks-pakistan-help-to-fight-drug-trafficking-extremism/article30141693.ece

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