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Sri Lanka's defeat of terrorism has boosted regional security: minister
Publication Date : 13-09-2013
If Sri Lanka had not managed to defeat terrorism, the stability of its neighbour countries and safety of sea lanes across the Indian Ocean, would surely still be affected today.
For this reason, Sri Lanka's achievement against overwhelming odds can be said to have benefited not just the island, but also other countries in the region, said Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris to a symposium participated by representatives from 52 countries in Dubai on Wednesday.
Referring to the intricately interconnected pattern of terrorist activity in the region, Peiris said that security in South Asia and beyond, would have remained much threatened if terrorism was still prevalent in Sri Lanka.
"The reality of this is demonstrated by the far flung repercussions of terrorist violence in the Horn of Africa," he said.
He added that Sri Lanka has not seen a single act of terrorist-related violence since the cessation of hostilities four years ago.
"It is this state of established peace and stability that equips Sri Lanka to play a major role in counter-piracy initiatives in the Indian Ocean, which used by more than a third of the global shipping industry, conveying oil to serve the world's economy," he said.
He said that the Sri Lankan Navy has also seen much progress with help from Australia through a joint initiative, to curtain human trafficking and other illicit activities in the Indian Ocean, such as narcotics dealings, money laundering and proliferation of weaponry across borders.
Peiris said that Sri Lanka possessed the legal expertist to assist in "filling the gaps that clearly exist in the current mechanisms of international law and practice, with regard to effective action against piracy".
Such "gaps", he said, for example, were the lack of adequate measures to deter organised crime, lack of financial support from governments in the initiative to apprehend pirates, the absence of a proper international tribunal to deal with piracy, and lapses in the international system to handle profits obtained through piracy.
Pointing to the growing importance of the "blue economy" - tapping on the ocean's resources - Peiris stated the need for a revamp of the systems governming the Continental Shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone, stressing on the urgent need for effective measures to control marine pollution and excessive expoitation of the ocean's resources.