Turnbull Congratulates Sirisena On Sri Lanka's "Great Reconciliation Programme": Assures Support In Battling Narcotics

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had congratulated President Maithripala Sirisena on the "great reconciliation programme undertaken by the Sri Lankan government".

Turnbull had said made this remark when he held bilateral discussions with President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo yesterday(November 2). Australian Premier thanked the President for excellent cooperation extended to fight transnational crimes including human smuggling and drug trafficking.

Australian Premier assured assistance to further develop Sri Lanka's counter-narcotic capabilities.

Furthermore, Australia will assist the National Defence College (NDC) to be set up shortly in Sri Lanka.  Turnbull said his government would depute a senior military officer for two years to provide administrative and curriculum expertise and to deliver select course modules to the NDC.

President Sirisena thanked the Australian Prime Minister for continuous assistance provided to Sri Lanka's development activities.

He made a special mention about the field of drugs and narcotics and said that the issue of illegal drugs was a major problem for Sri Lanka.

Sirisena pointed out that due to Sri Lanka's location in the Indian ocean, many international narcotic cartels use this country as a hub for smuggling activities. He thanked Australia for assisting Sri Lanka's costal security operations by providing fast naval patrol crafts in the last few years.

Prime Minister Turnbul said Australia would give three Stabicraft vessels for coastguard operations. "They are fast crafts and very useful for coastal operations," he said.

President Sirisena thanked the Australian Prime Minister for the new trade and investment agreement which would further enhance trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe witnessed signing of a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement yesterday at the Temple Trees.

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