Sri Lanka will be hosting the Indian Ocean Conference this year. Accordingly all arrangements are in place for the opening of the conference the day after tomorrow. The two-day Indian Ocean Conference 2017 is scheduled to open at Temple Trees under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. The closing ceremony will be held under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena.
The theme of the conference will be “Peace, Progress and Prosperity.” A meeting to brief the media on the conference was held at Temple Trees today. Several Ministers expressed their views to the media.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana said that what they expect was to spread peace in the Indian Ocean and obtain maximum use with the involvement of countries in the region and also maintaining links with vessels moving along the Indian Ocean. They will discuss what should be done collectively for the security of the region. It will also discuss matters as to how importantly they could achieve commercial benefits. Decisions will be arrived at after discussing these matters.
Addressing the journalists, Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake said that Sri Lanka was located in a more strategical position in the Indian Ocean. The Sri Lankan Navy in the past during the war period acted meticulously. Sri Lanka is vested with a major responsibility of carrying forward these activities and contributing to peace in the region.
The Minister said that drug prevention is a vital issue that will be discussed at length. He stated that the geographical location of Sri Lanka unfortunately makes the island a very efficient and strategically placed locality for major drug cartels to utilize as a transit destination during drug smuggling operations
More than 100 representatives of 35 countries including Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj are slated to participate in this conference.