GL assures Aussie FM of Lanka’s  determination to stop illegal migration

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to stop illegal migration to Australia. The assurance was given when Minister Peiris met his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly sessions in New York.

The following is the text of a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry on the meeting: "Australian Foreign Minister Bishop expressed her country’s deep appreciation for Sri Lanka’s excellent cooperation in preventing, detecting and intercepting human smuggling operations to Australia.

Minister Peiris stated that there was increased naval surveillance to prevent illegal means of transporting people by sea to Australia and therefore there was also heightened awareness on the issue in Sri Lanka. The Minister reiterated Sri Lanka’s continued cooperation in addressing the issue comprehensively.

The Australian Foreign Minister referred to the newly elected Australian government’s vision on the manner it proposes to dismantle people smuggling rings through the adoption of stringent measures. This, she said would also be a deterrence to the continued illegal practice.

With reference to the recently held Northern Provincial Elections, Minister Peiris observed that it was held after 25 years. He added that the onus was now on the winning party to assume responsibility in serving the people of that region, and pointed out that the Government would work with the newly elected Provincial Council in the North towards the endeavour.

The two Ministers exchanged views on the forthcoming CHOGM in Sri Lanka and confirmation of Australia’s participation at the highest level was reiterated. Minister Peiris outlined that the Youth and People’s Forums were being held in Hambantota and Hikkaduwa respectively in a bid to take Commonwealth to the people and increase awareness of the Organization.

Minister Bishop acknowledged the strong bilateral links between the countries evidenced by Australian investments. She referred to enhanced investments from Australia that were presently in the pipe line and hoped that the trend would continue.

Subsequently, Minister Peiris met Indonesian Foreign Minister Martin Natalegawa in New York. Both Ministers agreed the need for enhance trade and economic relations and pledged to pursue the outcomes of the Joint Commission held in 2012 in Colombo. The Indonesian Minister informed that BatikAir has been designated to commence direct flights between the two countries for better connectivity and increased people to people contacts.

Minister Peiris outlined developments in facing the challenges of post conflict Sri Lanka and highlighted the fact that the Government has been addressing the related issues in a coherent sequence of resettlement, rehabilitation, economic development and now the political process.

The Indonesian Minister acknowledged the political commitment displayed by the Sri Lankan Government and the step by step approach domestically driven, since one size did not fit all.

With regard to multilateral cooperation the two Ministers referred to the process of achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the need to cooperate internationally, particularly among the developing countries in evolving a post 2015 Development Agenda. They agreed to work together towards this end."

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