Sri Lanka has welcomed a proposal for the readmission of the Maldives to the Commonwealth family reiterating that Sri Lanka fully supports the fast track procedure previously applied in the readmission of Gambia, to allow the Maldives to participate fully at CHOGM 2020 in Rwanda.
Sri Lanka made the observation at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting held in New York on the sidelines of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, chaired by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations.
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, speaking at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting, said that as a close neighbor and a fellow South Asian nation, Sri Lanka enjoys strong bilateral ties with the Maldives, and it is gratifying that one of the primary initiatives embarked upon by the new Maldivian administration last year was to convey its intention to re-join the Commonwealth.
The Foreign Secretary noted that particularly given that the Commonwealth Secretariat had carried out a comprehensive assessment mission in the Maldives in January 2019 resulting in a positive outcome; any perceived obstacles to its re-entry should be seen as mere imperfections that afflict all countries from time to time.
He urged that additional hurdles not be placed in their way, which would serve as a disincentive.
Foreign Secretary also attended the Group 77 (G77) Foreign Ministers Meeting held on Friday, 27th September 2019 in New York. It was noted that the G77 is uniquely positioned to call for global action to address the diverse needs of countries in special situations such as Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
These issues adversely affect economic and social development and impact their ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Group should act as a collective voice to call for greater international assistance and support for vulnerable and marginalized states, particularly for financing and capacity building.
Additionally, in a statement at the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, where Sri Lanka is a co-prime mover of the pillar on “Science, Technology and Innovation”, Foreign Secretary Aryasinha noted the great potential in the ACD Region in the field of tourism which could play a crucial role in sustainable social, cultural and economic growth.
The ACD taking centre stage in enhancing economic competitiveness in the region enables Asian countries to compete in the global market on an equal footing.