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Foreign Minister leads Sri Lanka delegation to 30th ASEAN Regional Forum

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Foreign Minister Ali Sabry and other delegates at the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry led the Sri Lanka delegation to the 30th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting held on July 14, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The ARF is an Asia-Pacific-region-centric security dialogue mechanism inaugurated in 1994 in Thailand which seeks to promote regional development and prosperity through open and inclusive dialogue while recognizing challenges to regional peace, security and prosperity. The ARF has 27 member states and Sri Lanka has been a member of the ARF since 2007.

Addressing the forum, Foreign Minister Sabry highlighted the important areas of co-operation for Sri Lanka, including maritime security, disaster management, defence-related confidence-building measures and preventive diplomacy, and sustaining the growing economic dynamism and prosperity of the region. He also welcomed the steady advancement in the areas of co-operation in the ARF and unreservedly supported the process.

The Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka intends to become a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which is the world’s largest free trade area that came into effect on January 1, 2022. Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are the 15 founding members of the RCEP. The RCEP became open for new members from July 1, 2023 and Sri Lanka has submitted the Letter of Intent to the ASEAN Secretariat on June 28 to join the RCEP.

The Minister held a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the ARF with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Timor Leste, Vietnam and the UK to discuss areas of mutual interest. During his stay in Jakarta, he also held discussions with the Indonesian Finance Minister, the National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT) of Indonesia and the Sri Lankan business community in Indonesia.

The Sri Lanka delegation included the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia Jayanath Colombage and Director General of the South-east and Central Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry Waruna Wilpatha.

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