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* US, Sri Lanka military cooperation on CBRN defense
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 10:47 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 31, Colombo: The United States and Sri Lanka militaries will conduct an international defense workshop in Colombo on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defense despite the somewhat strained political relationship between the two countries over the US-led UN resolution.

The Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) Tempest Express 24 Workshop on CBRN Theme will be held from 31 March-09 April 2014 at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The workshop for operational-level multinational planning activities is co-hosted by the United States Pacific Command on behalf of the US Department of Defense and Sri Lanka Office of the Chief of Defence Staff on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

A 20 member US delegation of MPAT staff is scheduled to participate in the workshop along with delegations from 20 other countries namely, Australia, Cambodia, Germany, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Bangladesh, Canada, Japan, Maldives, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, France, Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Sri Lanka Amy spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said 23 participants from the Sri Lankan Defence Forces will take part in this exercise with 21 observers from the relevant Ministries and Departments of Sri Lanka.

Representatives from local humanitarian organizations UN OCHA and Sri Lanka Red Cross are also scheduled to participate.

The workshop aims to improve Sri Lankan government's and military's capabilities to respond to Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear-Toxic Industrial Materials (CBRN-TIM) disasters requiring international assistance and provide greater exposure to multinational military planning.

The workshop will focus on operational-level multinational planning activities and develop CBRNE portions of Sri Lanka's national disaster plans.

The Military Spokesman said the exercise will promote mutual understanding and interoperability of participating countries and their armed forces and other relevant agencies.

Officials from Sri Lanka's Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Coast Guard, Port Authority, Police, Fire, Medical and Civil Defence will attend the workshop.

Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage and the US Ambassador to Colombo Michel J Sisson are scheduled to attend the opening and closing ceremonies of the event.

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