Australia has pledged full support to Sri Lanka to host a successful Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this year.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris currently visiting Australia that she is looking forward to attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November.
During a meeting with Minister Peiris on Wednesday in the Australian Parliament in Canberra, Prime Minister Gillard has assured her government's assistance to ensure total success of the event.
Australia's Foreign Minister Senator Robert Carr has also reiterated the support of his country for the CHOGM in Colombo scheduled to be held from November15-17 in Colombo.
The Australian Foreign Minister has said that Australia, the host of CHOGM 2011 in Perth, will send two Senior Officials to Colombo to share its hands-on experience on the logistics of the Commonwealth Summit.
At yesterday's meeting, the two Foreign Ministers have discussed plans for expanding development cooperation between the two countries. They noted that Australian Development Assistance last year, in terms of the actual outcome had significantly exceeded the original commitments.
Prof. Peiris welcomed the signing of the revised Air Services Agreement between the two countries as a means of improving connectivity and enabling larger numbers of Australian tourists to visit Sri Lanka.
The two Ministers also discussed the dairy development and extension of AUSAID programs for Sri Lankans to read for postgraduate studies in Australian Universities.
Mr. Stephen Smith, Australia's Minister for Defence, at his meeting with Prof. Peiris, expressed appreciation of Sri Lanka's sustained and effective initiatives to curb people smuggling, and conveyed to Minister Peiris his country's willingness to make available to the Sri Lankan authorities appropriate facilities, including a Coast Guard vessel, to assist with these operations.
They noted that the Joint Working Group is producing positive results, and that further modalities will be discussed between the Chiefs of the two Navies shortly.
During his meeting with the Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O'Connor, Minister Peiris described the continuing activities by LTTE front organizations and pressed for their proscription under the Australian Criminal Code Act.
Minister Peiris also had discussions with Speaker of the Australian Parliament Ms. Anna Burke, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Ms. Julie Bishop and other senior leaders.
Minister Peiris was accompanied by Members of Parliament Namal Rajapaksa, Lohan Ratwatte, Thilanga Sumathipala and Wasantha Senanayake.