The request for Sri Lanka to participate in the ARF has been accepted at the 39th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and 13th ARF held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sri Lanka become the 27th participant of the ARF and played an important and remarkable role at ARF as the security flat form for the region. ARF is one of the main ASEAN Sectoral Ministerial Bodies under the purview of ASEAN Political Security Council.
Sri Lanka tied hands with the ARF as an observer state in 2007 by evaluating the phase of Confidence Building to the development of Preventive Diplomacy.Sri Lanka’s membership at the ARF would be beneficial for Sri Lanka to make an important role for further engagement with ASEAN and its categories in the future. ARF has members of the Shaghai Coopeation Organization (SCO), which is informally understood as the counter balance to NATO. Sri Lanka is also a Dialogue Partner of the SCO.
Joint Maritime Workshop in Sri Lanka with Australia together with ASEAN country under the flagship of ARF – in 2013. ARF Seminar and Training on Preventive Diplomacy and Mediation from 29th November to 2nd December 2015 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Mr. O.L. Ameer Ajwad/Actg. Director General of East Asia and Pacific attended at this Seminar. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the 23rd Meeting ARF was held on 26th July 2016.
Mr. H.J. Premakumara, Scientific Officer and Ms. A. S.M.T.N. Attanayake – Technical Assistant attended at the Second ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on non-Proliferation nuclear Forensics in Bangkok, Thailand from 10-12 September 2013.
Sri Lanka has ratified and undertook to perform and observe all its provisions and to take all such lawful measures as may be necessary to prevent the violation under the ratification of the Third Protocol to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).
Sri Lanka enjoys wide ranging bilateral relations with all ASEAN Countries for several decades and some countries dating back centuries .
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Dharshana M. Perera presented the letter of credentials as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to ASEAN to ASEAN Secretary General H,E, Mr. Le Luong Minh at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on 12th July 2016.
During the discussion which followed, the ASEAN Secretary General welcomed the accreditation of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka and described it as an important conduit to deepen engagement with ASEAN. Whilst noting the good relations which Sri Lanka has nurtured bilaterally in the region, Secretary General Minh appreciated the contribution made by Sri Lanka as a partner in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The Secretary-General looked forward to Sri Lanka’s greater involvement within relevant ASEAN processes and invited Sri Lanka for its involved engagement with the Secretariat.
Ambassador Dharshana Perera whilst appreciating the warmth with which the accreditation has been received by the ASEAN countries, briefed on the important developments, which have taken place in the country, including the critical reconciliation processes currently underway following the re-establishment of peace in Sri Lanka after over 30 years of conflict. He also highlighted changes the Unity Government in Sri Lanka has brought about including: strong political stability; strengthened democracy, rule of law, and, the establishment of effective mechanism for good governance. The changed scenario has given the opportunity for Sri Lanka to recalibrate its engagement globally including with the Southeast Asian region and ASEAN in particular, he said.
Pointing to the important processes within ASEAN on confidence building measures and Preventive Diplomacy, Ambassador Perera said that these are important pillars which have sustained peace and stability in the region. On Sri Lanka’s partnership with ASEAN, the Ambassador reiterated Sri Lanka’s intention to further elevate, progressively, Sri Lanka’s engagement as a Sectoral Dialogue Partner, while sustaining the dialogue within the ARF framework with emphasis on regional security issues including terrorism, violent extremism, illegal migration and human smuggling, and non-traditional security issues such as environmental and climate-related challenges.
Ambassador Perera commended the manner in which ASEAN has emerged as a successful regional initiative and expressed satisfaction at the opportunity to deepen Sri Lanka’s engagement with the region with this accreditation. In this regard, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to ASEAN emphasized the need to progressively create wider economic opportunities for ASEAN’s partners following the landmark formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on 31 December 2015.
He also commended Secretary-General Le Luong Minh’s leadership as Secretary General at the important juncture in the history of the organization. He conveyed the greetings of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera which were warmly reciprocated. He also pledged the commitment to contribute to strengthen relations between ASEAN and Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Perera is Sri Lanka’s first Ambassador to ASEAN.
ASEAN’s External Relations Division Officials including Assistant Director Mr. Phanthaly Chantharathip, Senior Officer Div III Mr. Akbar and Second Secretary Mrs. Dilini Lenagala of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, in Jakarta were associated with the talks.