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    Opening Remarks of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Bilateral Discussion with Prime Minister Imran Khan Featured

    February 23, 2021


    Opening Remarks of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Bilateral Discussion with Prime Minister Imran Khan


    Your Excellency, Prime Minister Imran Khan, let me extend a warm and cordial welcome to you and your delegation.

    In fact, Your Excellency, you are the first foreign Head of Government to visit Sri Lanka after I assumed office as the the Prime Minster of Sri Lanka after the General Elections last year.

    On my invitation, you have chosen to visit Sri Lanka with great friendship, despite great challenges, including COVID-19 risks.

    Your visit symbolizes the deep affinity you and your government so dearly cherish towards the people of my country.

    I admire your courage and the great leadership that is evident in crucial decisions you have taken at times of crises.

    Even this visit is a clear demonstration of the leadership quality that I have seen decades ago when you led the Pakistan’s National Cricket Team against strong opponents.

    Your Excellency,

    I have observed your rise to the high office through the common people’s power and years of activism. That demonstrates your true love for the oppressed and the needy. Your people centric governance agenda goes hand in hand with my own government’s approach towards empowering the grassroots level communities and underprivileged.

    Let me take this opportunity to wish you and your government all success at the forthcoming Senate election in Pakistan.

    The ties between our two countries are closely linked by history, culture, religion, and our deep bilateral cooperation has become an all-weather friendship which has withstood the test of time.

    Relations between our two nations have now expanded to many sectors. But we have great potential before us to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation.


    I must thank Your Excellency for accompanying a strong business delegation with promising signs of investments and commercial partnerships. At a time of economic uncertainty, such private sector investments will greatly benefit both our economies.

    I recall with much pleasure my most recent visit to Pakistan in 2017 and previously as President. Both visits were very productive and memorable for me. I was indeed touched by the hospitality and the warm reception given to me and my delegation by the friendly people of Pakistan.

    Your Excellency, allow me to introduce my delegation:

    On my right are:

    Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena — Foreign Minister Hon. Bandula Gunawardena — Minister of Trade Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga — Minister of Tourism Hon. Ali Sabry — Minister of Justice
    Hon. Tharaka Balasuriya — State Minister of Regional Cooperation Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage — Foreign Secretary
    Mr. S.R. Attygalle — Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance

    On my left are:

    Hon. Prof. G.L.Peiris — Minister of Education
    Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage — Minister of Agriculture Hon. Namal Rajapakse — Minister of Youth and Sports
    Hon. Lohan Ratwatte — State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation; and State Minister of Gem & Jewelry Related Industries
    Hon. Ajith Nivard Cabraal — State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms
    Mr. Gamini S. Senarath — Secretary to the Prime Minister General Kamal Gunaratne — Secretary, Ministry of Defense



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