Ambassadors of ASEAN countries make a joint call on FM Gunawardena


Ambassadors from ASEAN member countries made a joint call on the Minister of Foreign Relations, Dinesh Gunawardena at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, on Wednesday.

The Ambassadors recalled the longstanding friendship with Sri Lanka and expressed that they were keen to strengthen cooperation in to greater vistas. Minister Gunawardena welcoming the Ambassadors noted that ASEAN countries as close friends of Sri Lanka and underscored the importance of continuing the historical legacy of partnership that Sri Lanka has had with the ASEAN region and its people, in particular based on Buddhist linkages. Both sides further took note of the potential areas of cooperation and the importance of spearheading the Bilateral Consultations in 2020.

ASEAN nations are Sri Lanka’s major trading partners. Sri Lanka has already started negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with ASEAN member states. Accordingly, Negotiations for a Thailand-Sri Lanka FTA began in the FTA discussion processes are ongoing with other ASEAN member states including Malaysia and Indonesia. Total trade between Sri Lanka and ASEAN countries has increased significantly and amounted to about $ 3.7 billion. While taking note on the above facts, Minister Gunawardena noted that Sri Lanka was keen to finalize all pending agreements to increase economic engagement with the ASEAN countries.

Minister Gunawardena emphasized that Sri Lanka was spreading out its hands to ASEAN and hope to look at niche areas to make a solid contribution to ASEAN activities. He noted during discussions on the ways to increase connectivity with ASEAN countries through bilateral Agreements, regular Joint Commission Meetings with ASEAN member countries, develop engagement with ASEAN on sustainability, environment and Climate Change. Minister also noted the importance of increased connectivity, defence and security cooperation with ASEAN countries.

The meeting was attended by Ambassador of Viet Nam to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Pham Thi Bich Ngoc, Ambassador of Indonesia to Sri Lanka I Gusti Ngurah Ardiyasa, , Ambassador of Thailand in Sri Lanka Mme. Chulamanee Chartsuwan, High Commissioner of Malaysia in Sri Lanka Yang Thai Tan, and Ambassador of Myanmar in Sri Lanka Han Thu,  Embassy Officials, Addl. Secretary, P. Selvaraj, Actg. Director General of the South East Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Nirmala Paranavitana.

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