August 02, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has formally joined the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a body that discusses security issues in which both Asia-Pacific nations as well as big powers outside the region are involved. Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Rohitha Bogollagama signed the Instrument of Accession making Sri Lanka a member of the ARF at the annual meeting of foreign ministers in Manila, Philippines on August 1.
“Through this treaty Sri Lanka becomes the 27th member of ARF and the signing of the treaty marks a major agreement between ASEAN and Sri Lanka to promote peace, security and corporation for the greater benefit of the Asia pacific region and the world at large,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The ASEAN Regional Forum, the main security group for Asia and the Pacific, was founded in 1994 and meets once a year, the AFP news agency said.
It holds its annual meeting in the country which holds the chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), just after ASEAN’s annual meeting of foreign ministers. This year’s chair was the Philippines.
Membership is not restricted to Asian countries. Canada, the European Union, Russia and the United States are also ARF members, and the gr