Sept 02, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena says the Indian Ocean Region must be transformed into a maritime zone of peace, to become a hub, which provides new technological knowledge and functions for the advancement of the entire humankind.
Addressing the valedictory session of the Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) 2017 held at the Temple Trees, Friday, the President said Sri Lanka due its strategic location in the Indian Ocean is a vital center to strengthen the trade and naval activities of the region as well as to benefit the people.
President Sirisena said Sri Lankan government is fully obliged to implement the decisions taken at the IOC and is extending its hands to all the friendly states to move forward with the new technology while building a better society for the people.
The President said the proposals and ideas and criticisms presented at the conference should be taken into consideration into make the Indian Ocean an ocean of peace.
The President said he believed that the attention of the conference also should be drawn on use of the Indian Ocean for undesirable purposes of war activities, drug smuggling as well as human trafficking.
Recalling that the World's first woman prime minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike presented a proposal in 1960 at the UN Summit to turn the Indian Ocean into a zone of peace, the Sri Lankan President emphasized that each country in the Indian Ocean region should be committed to ensure the international peace, reconciliation and brotherhood as it values the national reconciliation and peace.
The President also recalled the proposal made by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the importance of the Indian Ocean region and emphasized the collaboration of all countries on the security of the Indian Ocean.
The two-day Indian Ocean Conference which discussed the peace and security of the Indian Ocean Region, held under the theme of peace, progress and prosperity.
Representatives from 30 countries, also including non-Indian Ocean countries such as China, the United States and Japan participated in the conference.
The National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party Ram Madhav presented a special memento to the President at the conclusion ceremony.
The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sagala Ratnayake, Thilak Marapana, John Amaratunga, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Saman Ekanayake, and other officials were among the participants.