Sri Lanka, Indonesia keen to strengthen economic cooperation ensuring Indian Ocean security
Sat, Sep 25, 2021, 09:34 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Sept 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka and Indonesia as members of the nonaligned movement (NAM) have recognized the need to strengthen bilateral relations ensuring Indian Ocean security when the foreign ministers of the two countries met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Foreign Minister of Indonesia Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi welcomed the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to the Mission of Indonesia in New York, the Foreign Ministry said.
During the meeting, the Indonesian Foreign Minister emphasized that there are no bilateral issues between the two countries and hence the priority as Foreign Ministers is to strengthen bilateral 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.
Minister 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 since the philosophy of NAM 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 noted.
Minister Peiris also indicated that Indonesia and Sri Lanka share a keen interest in Indian Ocean security. Therefore it is necessary to further empower the Indian Ocean Rim Association and ASEAN Regional Forum.
Minister Peiris furthermore appreciated the cooperation in defense, intelligence sharing and staff level consultations with regards to countering terrorism and other forms of maritime crimes.
Minister further highlighted that 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.
The Minister congratulated 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 also indicated 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. The Foreign Ministers also agreed to visit each other’s countries at mutually convenient times.