Australia’s Defence Minister Senator David Johnston expressed appreciation of the role played by Sri Lanka in combating people smuggling and other illegal activities and underlined Australia’s resolve to work closely with Sri Lanka in this area.
He made these remarks at a meeting with Professor G L Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, in Parliament in Canberra on Tuesday.
The two Ministers discussed the work of the Joint Working Group and declared their satisfaction with the progress made. They considered the priorities for the future.
Professor Peiris explained to the Australian Defence Minister the government’s plans to develop Sri Lanka as a hub for shipping and aviation, and gave an account of developments in the country after the establishment of peace and stability.
He thanked the Australian government for the gift of a coast guard vessel which has enhanced Sri Lanka’s capability in this regard. The Bay Class Coast Guard vessel has already arrived in Sri Lanka. A second vessel of the same type, also a gift by Australia, will arrive in the country in June.
The Ministers noted the exceptional strength of the defence relationship between the two countries and considered avenues for further development.
Minister Peiris also interacted, during his visit, with Mr Scott Morrison, Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.