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FM's call for combating terrorism in BIMSTEC countries

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has emphasised the need for enhanced cooperation among Member States of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to combat terrorism.

The Minister was addressing the tenth Session of the BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi on Friday.

The Foreign Minister said, "Terrorism is an abominable phenomenon that affects all of us, big and small, directly or indirectly, today. Terrorist groups network with one another globally. Their operations, in our own experience include fund raising through the narcotic trade, human smuggling, procurement of arms and ammunition, and money laundering, all of which pose a grave threat to our societies in more ways than one.

Sri Lanka views the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism, Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking as an important landmark of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Sector, which would intensify our cooperative efforts in combating terrorism.

The Group on intelligence sharing relating to Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime has had two meetings in Colombo. These meetings have been useful in exploring ways and means to share information to combat terrorism and transnational crime. Enhancement of cooperation in all sectors relating to combating terrorism is crucial. I therefore emphasize the urgent and dire need to further enhance cooperation within BIMSTEC in this important area", Bogollagama said. BIMSTEC had its origin in BIST-EC, when Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand joined to form this new sub-regional grouping in June 1997 in Bangkok. In December 1997, Myanmar was admitted as a full member and subsequently Bhutan and Nepal were admitted to its ranks in 2003.

At the first Summit in July 2004, the leaders of the group agreed on the new nomenclature.

Minister Bogollagama held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from India, Pranab Mukherjee, Thailand, Tej Bunnag, Myanmar, U Nyan Win and Nepal, Upendra Yadav, on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting. He is also scheduled to call on the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh prior to his return to Colombo.



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