UK enhances security cooperation with Sri Lanka

Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is visiting Sri Lanka to strengthen cooperation on climate change, regional security and human rights the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in a statement.

See the full statement below:

To deepen UK-Sri Lanka cooperation on environmental protection, regional security and human rights, UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan will arrive in Sri Lanka today (10 October). The 3-day visit to Colombo and Jaffna marks the celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Sri Lanka and is the minister’s first visit to Sri Lanka in her role.

Minister Trevelyan will emphasise the UK’s long-term commitment to the region at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Ministerial meeting hosted by Sri Lanka. With around 60% of global shipping passing through the Indo-Pacific, ensuring maritime security is of critical importance to the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the UK’s economy. The UK is increasing its long-term presence in the Indo-Pacific by permanently deploying 2 offshore patrol vessels to tackle maritime security challenges in the region alongside partners and allies.

Minister Trevelyan will also seek to strengthen IORA work on climate mitigation. Through collaborative programmes that underpin biodiversity objectives and the Glasgow Pact (agreed at COP26), the minister will highlight UK support for Sri Lanka’s environmental work. This builds on the UK’s strong track record as the first major economy to legislate for Net Zero, cutting carbon emissions faster than any other G7 country. Sri Lanka are also prioritising green growth, with their own commitment to net zero by 2050.

Indo-Pacific Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

As the UK celebrates 75 years of diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka, we’re working together on climate action, peacebuilding and human rights.

Through key regional forums like IORA, we can accelerate progress towards enhanced security for the Indian Ocean region, collaborate on shared climate goals and on boosting maritime security.

While in Colombo, Minister Trevelyan will meet members of the Sri Lankan government including President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry. Discussions will focus on climate finance and green growth, justice reform and opportunities to enhance UK-Sri Lanka diplomatic ties.

Travelling to Jaffna, in the Northern Province, Trevelyan will meet with Governor P S M Charles, and regional parliamentarians. She will then visit a land mine clearance site in Muhamalai to see UK-funded demining and sustainable resettlement work. Supported by the UK’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF), charity The HALO Trust has been working to clear unexploded ordnances in Muhamalai since 2012, with the Sri Lankan government anticipating that the country will be landmine-free by 2027. UK funding to the United Nations Development Programme has also supported the resettlement of displaced communities on land cleared of mines, helping provide community infrastructure and build sustainable livelihoods.

To engage UK businesses in Sri Lanka on bilateral trade discussions, Minister Trevelyan will meet civil society and business leaders from across Sri Lanka at a breakfast meeting.

Following her engagements in Sri Lanka, the minister will travel to India as part of a wider trip to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

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