Talks between Sri Lanka, Indonesia on Indian Ocean security and counter-terrorism

On the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi has welcomed her Sri Lankan counterpart to the Mission of Indonesia in New York.

Emphasizing that there are no bilateral issues between the two countries, Marsudi said their priority as foreign ministers is to strengthen two-sided relations with a special focus on economic cooperation.

The Preferential Trade Agreement which is being discussed needs to be finalized in order to enhance bilateral trade, she added.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris indicated that relations between the two countries as members of the nonaligned movement (NAM) are critically important.

The NAM is relevant even today as its philosophy is not to align on every issue but to judge every issue on its own merits, hence we need to infuse more energy to this movement, he pointed out.

Minister Peiris noted that Indonesia and Sri Lanka share a keen interest in Indian Ocean security, stressing the necessity to further empower the Indian Ocean Rim Association and ASEAN Regional Forum.

Further, he appreciated the cooperation in defence, intelligence sharing and staff level consultations with regards to countering terrorism and other forms of maritime crimes.

“Sri Lanka wishes to have greater interaction with ASEAN since there are vibrant trade relations with some members of ASEAN and the potential synergy is evident. In this regard, Sri Lanka wishes to be a sectoral dialogue partner and to create a bridge between SAARC and ASEAN,” Minister Peiris added.

He went on to congratulate the Government of Indonesia on the remarkable success of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has resulted in unifying forces of humanity and allows us to come together in solidarity, the minister stated, indicating the potential for enhancing tourism between the two countries.

Both Ministers agreed that there is a need to invigorate NAM and IORA to ensure effective outcomes. They also agreed to visit each other’s countries at mutually convenient times. – ada derana

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