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Pakistan expresses gratitude for Lankaís stance

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf yesterday welcoming Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who is on a two day visit to Pakistan, expressed Pakistanís deep gratitude to Sri Lanka for the principled position adopted at the Commonwealth.

The President said he was grateful to Minister Bogollagama, who had strongly argued against Pakistanís suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

President Musharraf said it was unfortunate that the Commonwealth had to hastily enforce the suspension, being unwilling to allow Pakistan the time required to operationalise reforms.

He expressed the hope that the Commonwealth would adopt a more realistic appreciation of the steps taken by Pakistan for the consolidation of democracy in the country.

Bogollagama said Sri Lanka was glad to have been able to stand by a good friend. The Minister said he was confident that given a little more time Pakistan would have been able to resolve the issues that were of concern to CMAG.

The Minister added that it was his expectation that Pakistan would very soon be able to have the suspension against the country removed and that Sri Lanka would continue to vigorously pursue action in this regard.

The Foreign Minister also conveyed to the President the good wishes of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

President Musharraf said Pakistan held the President in high esteem and wished him success in his endeavours to end the conflict.

Minister Bogollagama also briefed President Musharraf on recent developments in Sri Lanka - the termination of the CFA, the announcement on immediate measures to fully implement the 13th Amendment, and the continuing military engagement against LTTE terrorism.

He said the Government was holding local government elections in the Eastern Province in March and would soon take steps to conduct provincial elections in the East.

An interim advisory committee as a temporary measure would be implemented in the Northern Province.

He emphasized the painstaking manner in which President Rajapaksa was seeking to build a consensus within Sri Lanka to find a resolution to the present conflict.

Minister Bogollagama expressed the deep gratitude of the Government of Sri Lanka for the support provided by Pakistan in the context of the present conflict in Sri Lanka.

President Musharraf said as a country which is also fighting terrorism, Pakistan well understood the challenge faced by Sri Lanka and expressed his support for the efforts of the government in its fight against terrorism and to preserve Sri Lankaís sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Foreign Minister Bogollagama also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro at the Prime Ministerís Office. The Prime Minster expressed satisfaction at the increased interaction taking place between Sri Lanka and Pakistan and the enhancement of bilateral relations between the two countries.

 

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