President appeals to BIMSTEC leaders to take collective steps
against drug menace
[August 31 2018]
Maithripala Sirisena called upon
the leaders of the states in the
Bay of Bengal Region to take
collective steps against drug
menace narcotics smugglers use
ocean routes for drug smuggling.
Addressing the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal
Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC),
he drew the attention of the leaders to the drug menace which is a great
obstacle for the progress of the world community. "It is the menace of
drugs and narcotics, heroine, hashish, marijuana and other drugs that
are smuggled into the country mainly by sea. This has largely affected
our youth and the school children. Illicit drugs have become the most
serious challenge and we require more advanced technology and training
for our coast guard to fight drug smuggling at sea," he said.
"I urge the BIMSTEC Association, the world community,
and all the states to commit themselves to fight illegal drugs
trafficking collectively and individually through a robust international
programme that is more organized and stronger than now," President
The President said that some powerful corporate groups
sometimes even succeed in toppling governments and the leaders should be
vigilant about them.
He pointed out that climate change and natural
disasters adversely affect the economies of the countries in the Bay of
Bengal region emphasized that as the Bay of Bengal community, we have to
find remedies to these challenges and work towards commitment for
poverty alleviation under the BIMSTEC Poverty Plan of Action.
Pointing out that the people in the Bay of Bengal have
a common history and shared cultural heritage is the backbone of
multilateral understanding and respect, he said it is our responsibility
to further strengthen cooperation among the membership through regional
integration creating a prosperous Bay of Bengal region.
The BIMSTEC regional bloc is one of the fastest
growing regions in the world, said President Sirisena and added that Sri
Lanka, as an Island Nation wishes to make maximum use of the ocean with
new light on ocean research, tourism, fisheries and marine resources.
Briefing the leaders about Sri Lanka's achievements,
he said that during the last three and a half years, democracy, human
rights, rule of law and media freedom has been strengthened and
independence of judiciary has been established and actions were taken to
punish those who are guilty of corruption, bribery and malpractices
irrespective of their status of political affiliations.
President Sirisena said that BIMSTEC has vast
experience and strength acquired over the past 20 years, and that could
be fully utilized for meeting the challenges faced by the Bay of Bengal
community. He called on the fellow leaders to give fullest support and
continued cooperation to achieve the set targets and goals of BIMSTEC
for the benefit of all our peoples.