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
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
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.