Sri Lanka and Australia have signed two agreements.
The two agreements deal on Sport Development Cooperation and Improving Economic Corporation. The Agreement have been inked today.
The Sports Development Cooperation Agreement was inked at the Parliament House by Australian Sports and Health Minister Grake Hunt and Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara. Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson and Sri Lanka’s Finance Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunge signed the Economic Cooperation Agreement. The agreements were signed in the presence of the Sri Lankan and Australian Prime Ministers.
Both Prime Ministers also joined in a news conference held at the Parliamentary complex in Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that his intention was to further expand relations in the economic, education, technology and energy fields.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe who addressed the news conference pointed out that both countries had taken appropriate action to improve with local identity, features which were received while under the British colonial rule, after gaining independence.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe urged compatriots who are being held in Australian-run immigration detention centres to come home. He claimed that the Sri Lankans had broken the law in trying to flee to Australia but insisted they would not face prosecution if they returned, The Guardian reported.
Asked about those who might prefer to remain in the camps than return in fear for their safety, he insisted they were mistaken, pointing to a newly established Missing Persons Office in his country.
Australian Industry Innovation and Science Minister Arthur Sinodinos announced support to hold a survey to identify mineral resources in Sri Lanka and help the country to draw up a mineral resources map. He gave this assurance during a discussion held with Premier Wickremasinghe.
In the meantime Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told the Sri Lankan Prime Minister that in future more opportunities will be given for Sri Lankan students to study in Australia. Premier Wickremasinghe gave an assurance to extend full support to suppress human trafficking.
Premier Wickremasinghe told the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that marine peace in the region is important for economic growth and investment promotion. Julie Bishop and the Prime Minister exchanged views on how to work in the face of political trends and future challenges in the Asian Pacific region as well as in the world. The Australian Foreign Minister said that dire attention should be focused on marine peace and security in the Indian Pacific marine zones. She expressed her desire to work in cooperation with Sri Lanka in this respect.
A meeting also took place between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and the Opposition Leader of the Australian Parliament Bill Shorten. The Australian Opposition Leader lauded the programme mooted in Sri Lanka on behalf of peace and reconciliation. The Sri Lankan leader said that a new model should be planned to sit the region taking into consideration the views of all political parties to protect Parliamentary traditions.