Foreign Minister Professor G. L. Peiris met Dr. Richard Marles, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Australia, on the sidelines of the Shangri -La dialogue in Singapore. Minister Peiris conveyed warm wishes to the new government of Australia and expressed confidence in the further development of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Australia.
He thanked the Australian Government for the announcement of AUD 2.5 million of targeted development assistance to boost food security in Sri Lanka through the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
He expressed appreciation of Australia’s overall package of support, of AUD 11.7 million, to Sri Lanka’s Covid -19 response. Minister Peiris equally appreciated the donation of equipment and gear by Australia to assist the coastal cleaning efforts of Sri Lanka’s shores after the MV X-press Pearl disaster.
They discussed the current situation in Sri Lanka and ways in which Australia could be of assistance. Other topics discussed were measures against people smuggling, immigration and border management cooperation, increased opportunities for Sri Lankan students, and enhanced cooperation in international bodies like the ASEAN regional forum, the Bali Process, the Commonwealth and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.