Sri Lanka requested Australia’s fullest cooperation in combating terrorist financing and other activities in the region directed towards the revival of terrorism in any form, when Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, met Ms. Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, for bilateral discussions in the Australian Parliament on Monday (5th May 2014).
Minister Peiris gave his Australian counterpart a full briefing on the action taken by Sri Lanka to designate 16 groups and 424 individuals under Sri Lankan law in keeping with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. He told Minister Bishop that ongoing investigations clearly indicated that substantial sums of money are being remitted from abroad for purposes connected with planned military, intelligence and propaganda activity. He described the measures adopted by the government of Sri Lanka to deal with this activity and to suppress it at the very beginning. Prof. Peiris stressed the need for the greatest vigilance and close cooperation in this regard.
The Sri Lankan Minister thanked the Australian government for inclusion of the LTTE in the list maintained by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia under the United Nations Charter Regulations 2002 “as activities to which providing material support would be illegal” when it was reviewed in Canberra in November last year. He reiterated Sri Lanka’s strong support for Australia’s ‘Sovereign Border’ policy to combat illegal immigration into Australia and for the Bali Process to criminalize trafficking in persons.
Prof. Peiris thanked the Government of Australia for their understanding of the Sri Lankan situation, and for declining to co-sponsor the Resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council in March.
He also informed the Australian Foreign Minister about Sri Lanka’s current initiatives in the political and economic spheres.
The Ministers agreed that, given the excellent relationship between the two countries, the time is now appropriate for the establishment of an overall mechanism to coordinate and strengthen co-operation in the political, trade and security sectors.
It was noted that a key meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, of which Australia is the Chair will take place in Colombo next month. Prof. Peiris received an enthusiastic response from his Australian counterpart, to his request for technical assistance for a Centre of Excellence in Oceanography on the South Coast of Sri Lanka.
Australian investments and joint ventures with Sri Lanka in the fields of education, banking, insurance, tourism, infrastructure and software development, and mineral and mining activities, were identified as priorities.