Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Remarks at bilateral meeting with the Honourable Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Parliament House


It is a great pleasure to see you again.

Thank you so much for hosting me when I was in Sri Lanka – which seems too long ago – I'm hoping that I might be able to visit this year and I wanted to very much extend again a very warm welcome.

I enjoyed your speech yesterday in Parliament. It was a welcome opportunity to mix with some of the expats from the community here as well.

Our relationship of course runs very deep and is long standing, but from my perspective in particular the exchange of information, the relationship that we have with you on customs matters, on border protection matters and the exchange of information, particularly around trans-national crime, is one of the best relationships and the deepest relationships we have in this regard and it is part of the reason that we've enjoyed success in stopping boats, in stopping people drowning at sea and from that humanitarian perspective; I think we are great partners in what has been a very successful policy in regulating our migration flows into this country.

So I wanted to say thank you sincerely for the work that you've done, for the work that your Navy and agencies have done and I as I say, was very warmly received and it is apparent, obvious to me, since then that the exchange at officials' level has been very important, ongoing as well.

Thank you very much for your time today. It is a great opportunity to meet with you and I suspect there are many other issues that we can continue to work on very closely. There is an abiding affection between our two peoples and the increase in the number of students coming here to study, and equally tourism both ways, we hope to increase into the future as well.

Congratulations on the success that you've presided over for all of us that wanted to see peace and wanted to see the economy rebuild and the opportunity for young Sri Lankans in your own country. It is something of which I'm sure your government can be very proud.

So thank you for being here and I look forward to our conversation.