(PRESS RELEASE) – Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Harsha De Silva headed the Sri Lanka delegation at the 23rd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 26th July 2016.
ARF is a Foreign Ministerial Meeting for security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region and it seeks to promote regional development and prosperity. The ARF currently has 27 members called ‘participants’ who include the ten ASEAN member States, the ten ASEAN dialogue partners, two ASEAN observers, and Bangladesh, the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mongolia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The ARF brings together some of the major politically and economically powerful nations in the world.
Foreign Ministers from participant countries including US Secretary of State, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of China, Russia, Japan, Australia and Canada, participated at the Forum this year.
Delivering his statement, the Deputy Minister stated that Sri Lanka’s participation in the ASEAN Regional Forum was out of conviction and commitment to the ideals upon which the ARF was instituted and its goals. Sri Lanka believes in the vast potential of Asia and is also aware of the challenges, but view with optimism, the way forward, as the group re-dedicate itself to realizing the goals of the Forum.
The Forum focused on the developments in different parts of the world including South China Sea, Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, Africa as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest such as natural disasters, climate change, terrorism, transnational crime, pandemic diseases, irregular migration, human trafficking. The discussions were also held on the future direction of the ARF including the implementation of ARF activities in the Inter-Sessional Year 2015-2016 and adopted the programme of work for the next Inter-Sessional Year 2016-2017.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand, Kshenuka Senewiratne and the Director General, East Asia & Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, O.L Ameer Ajwad associated with the Deputy Foreign Minister at the ARF.