SL, Australia cooperate to curtail human trafficking
Saturday, May 05, 2012 - 02.11 GMT
The governments of Sri Lanka and Australia in the interest of both countries have pledged to cooperate on curtailing illegal migration and human trafficking.
The two countries have agreed to keep a vigil on the people smuggling activities during bilateral discussions held Thursday between the Australian Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen, who was in Sri Lanka on an official visit from May 02 -04, and the acting Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera.
The Australian Minister has commended the Sri Lankan government's efforts to curtail the human trafficking and people smuggling activities and endorsed the importance of keeping a further vigil in the interest of both countries.
During the discussions, Minister Perera has reiterated Sri Lanka's commitment to address the issue of illegal migration and requested the visiting Australian Minister not to allow anti-Sri Lankan separatist elements to use Australia for their illegal activities.
The Sri Lankan Minister has also sought Australia's support to strengthen Sri Lanka's Coast Guard Department in addressing the related maritime security concerns of both countries.
The Australian Minister has also focused on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and Minister Perera has apprised the visiting Minister of the measures taken by the government to implement the LLRC recommendations.
Minister Perera has emphasized need of a final outcome on a political solution to address the aspirations of all communities of Sri Lanka to build national consensus.
Appreciating the contribution of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in Australia to their economy and welcoming legal migration, the visiting Minister has said that the Australian government has recently streamlined the visa procedure for international students to boost the international education sector.
During the meeting the Sri Lanka and Australia have also signed a bilateral Air Services Agreement to enable greater air connectivity between the two countries as a way to promote bilateral tourism and trade.
Acting Minister has also thanked the Australian government for the development assistance extended to Sri Lanka noting that it had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development process of the country, the Ministry said.