New Horizons in Australia – Sri Lanka ties

The strong bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and Australia entered into new areas as a result of President Maithripala Sirisena’s three-day official visit –the first ever state visit by a Sri Lankan President – to Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailed the Sri Lankan leader as a man of courage who carry out a highly impressive process of peace and reconciliation.

Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove expressed his admiration for the good governance of the government of President Sirisena and offered Australia’s fullest assistance and cooperation.

President Sirisena assured the Australian leaders that his government is totally committed to the process of reconciliation.

When he discussed the issue of security and defence with Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne, when she called on him at the Shangrila Hotel in Sydney, he assured fullest support to the campaign against human smuggling and sea piracy. He said that Sri Lanka would extend fullest cooperation to the efforts taken to enhance maritime security.

The President made this statement when the Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne called on him at the Shangrila Hotel in Sydney this evening (May 25).

President Sirisena said that drug smuggling has also become a major threat to many countries and emphasized the need for broad international cooperation to eliminate that menace.

Defence Minister, explaining the experience gained by Australian Navy over the years to prevent drug smuggling, said that drugs have become a major threat to many societies because of its harmful effects on the young generation. On the other hand the drug smugglers use the profits to fund terrorist organizations and it is a major problem to law and order in many countries, she pointed out. Hence Australia is willing to closely cooperate with Sri Lanka in this field and provide every possible assistance to Sri Lanka Navy and Coastguards, Ms Payne assured the President.

Australia currently provide training to military cadets from Sri Lanka, and the Defence Minister acceded to the President’s request to expand training facilities to include middle-level and senior military officers.

The President visited the Australia’s nuclear agency, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney on an inspection tour to see its advanced research on utilization of nuclear science for disease diagnosis and medication.

President Sirisena went to different sections of ANSTO, including the Nuclear Power generator.

ANSTO already provide nuclear technology based medicines to cancer patients in many countries. The research has found out many effective nuclear technology based medicines for diseases such as thyroid cancer, prostrate cancer and liver cancer.

Chief Executive Director of ANSTO, Dr Adi Paterson explained to the President that ANSTO could use nuclear technology to test ground water for possible harmful minerals due to pesticides and suggest possible ca treatments

The ANSTO signed an MOU with the Presidential Taskforce for Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease to assist in the fight against chronic kidney disease of unknown aetiology (CKDu).

According to the Journal of Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine (2014), CKDu affects around 100,000 people, and is linked to 5,000 deaths every year.

Today Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Australia, Somasundaram Skandakumar, and the CEO of ANSTO, Dr Adi Paterson, signed an MOU that will see Australia provide new insights into the disease.

The signing took place this morning at Australian Parliament House, Canberra, and was attended by Sri Lankan President Sirisena and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull.  

Earlier, on arrival in Canberra, President Sirisena was given a grand welcome. He was received by Official Secretary to the Governor General, Mr Mark Fraser, Minister of Education, Senator Simon Birmingham and Deputy Secretary (Governance) of the Prime Minister’s Office, Elizabeth Kelly. Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchisson and Sri Lanka High Commissioner Skandakumar and the staff of the High Commission were also present.

President Sirisena said that the invitation extended to him for a  a state visit proves the new high in our longstanding friendship. Australia is a leading member of the Colombo Plan under which several programmes have been launched for the development of the education sector. In the new areas of corporation, Australia is looking at investments in mining sector, hospitality, dairy industry and agriculture. The High Commissioner said that the President, who also holds the portfolio of Environment, will be vising the National Arboretum in Canberra, where he would plant a sapling of Mahogany (Toona Ciliata). The President also visited the ANU-CSIRO Centre for Genomics, Metabolomics and Bioinformatics where excellent research has been done on development of food crops.

Sri Lanka and Australia actively cooperate in curbing of human smuggling and prevention of maritime piracy

The delegation that accompanied the President included Minister John Amaratunga, Deputy Ministers Harsha de Silva, Ajith P. Perera, and Member of Parliament Harshana Rajakaruna, President’s Public Relations Director General Shantha Bandara.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner Somasundaram Skandakumar said that the fact that Australiana Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invited our President for a state visit proves the new high in our longstanding friendship.



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