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First Ad Hoc dialogue on counter-terrorism with EU in Colombo

A delegation led by European Union (EU) Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove is wrapping up a round of talks aimed at cooperating with Sri Lanka on a range of security-related issues, a Press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

The delegation was in Sri Lanka from 11 to 16 July for the discussions which are dubbed the EU- Sri Lanka Ad Hoc Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism Cooperation. 

The Ad Hoc Dialogue, co-chaired by Acting Secretary/Foreign Affairs Ahmed A Jawad and de Kerchove, covered recent counter-terrorism measures, countering radicalization and violent extremism, security cooperation, capacity building and the listing of the LTTE by the EU.

Discussions centred around sharing of information, experiences, technical assistance and creating platforms to learn from best practices, as well as setting up of mutually beneficial cooperation among security and law enforcement agencies of Sri Lanka and the EU. 

Setting up a mechanism for counter-terrorism cooperation between EU and Sri Lanka was discussed during the 22nd Joint Commission meeting held in Brussels in February 2019.

The horrific Easter Sunday attacks that brought global terrorism to Sri Lanka’s door, added greater urgency to this initiative. In a gesture of solidarity and cooperation in facing this common challenge, the EU responded to the request made by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana to the High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, to hold a dialogue at the earliest possible.

In the wake of the deep transformation of terrorism globally, and the rise of new phenomena of foreign terrorist fighters and radicalization over social media, the Dialogue provided a platform to harness the shared knowledge from countries that have been facing this threat over many years, and strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacity to prevent attacks and prepare adequate response mechanisms.

During their visit for the Ad Hoc Dialogue, the EU delegation also called on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister Marapana, Secretary Defence Gen Shantha Kottegoda and other stakeholders.

The EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator was accompanied by the EU Ambassador in Sri Lanka Tung-lai Margue, Head of Counter Terrorism Division of the European External Action Services (EEAS), John Gatte-Rutter and Deputy Head of the South Asia Division of the EEAS Ivo Schutte.

The Sri Lanka delegation included a representative from the Office of the Chief of National Intelligence Col. Robin Jayasuriya, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit DM Rupasinghe and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry’s Counter Terrorism Unit, Legal Division and the EU and Europe Division.

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