Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who is attending the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Assembly with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday.
Meeting with the Prime Minister Turnbull, President Sirisena appreciated the assistance given by the Government of Australia to Sri Lanka for the country’s development drive.
The Australian Prime Minister also extended his gratitude to the Government of Sri Lanka and the President for the cooperation extended towards Australia to curb human smuggling. He added that the Government of Australia has very liberal and humanitarian policy and welcome genuine migrants.
However, stern actions have to be taken regarding the organized human trafficking by criminal groups and in some situations it is connected to drug smuggling, he said.
Mr. Turnbull also said that it is not only a concern to Australia, but also to the region as well. “In these circumstances Australia is very grateful for Sri Lanka for the cooperation extended in this regard,” he said.
President Sirisena on Tuesday also met with the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar at the UN Headquarters in New York.
During the meeting the President expressed his condolences on behalf of the Government and people of Sri Lanka over the recent violence in Kashmir resulting in several killings. The President further said that the region should collectively act to curb such violence and the Indian Minister briefed the President regarding the situation that led to the recent incident.
President Sirisena said such complicated situations should be dealt with patience and the dialogue is the only way to find solutions to such issues.
The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs noted some delays in commencement of some joint ventures in Sri Lanka and pointed out the need to expedite those projects. The President said he continuously examine the progress of proposed projects.
During the bilateral meeting they also discussed the fishermen issue. The President said the two Governments look at it as a humanitarian issue and whenever fishermen are arrested for illegal border crossing, the respective governments release them as early as possible.
He also said, the Government of Sri Lanka and the fisherman in the North are concerned about the long term damage caused to the environment and the sea resources. Hence, an early solution should be found with the involvement of the fisher community. He urged the Central Government assistance for this.