The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation established in 2001, has emerged as an important regional organisation providing a useful platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region. In addition to Russia and China, the Central Asian nations Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are its members. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers. Sri Lanka has been a dialogue partner since 2009 with Belarus and Turkey.
Addressing the High Level Conference, Deputy Minister Perera noted that although not contiguous in territory with the SCO Member States, Sri Lanka had from time immemorial, enjoyed strong historical, cultural and economic ties with many of the countries that had joined the SCO. The Deputy Minister highlighted that Sri Lanka had followed with keen interest the growth and development of the Organisation, and recognises the need to subscribe to its main goals and principles especially in the context of new security challenges that face the world, including illegal migration, human trafficking, drug trafficking, trans-national organised crime and cyber-terrorism, that constitute serious threats to regional and global security. The Deputy Minister underscored that Sri Lanka had recently become a victim of drug trafficking, with the country being used by drug syndicates as a destination and transit point and that in this regard, the law enforcement authorities in Sri Lanka are redoubling their efforts to combat this menace. The need for more concerted action with regional and international support, to which the Government was fully committed was highlighted in his address and the Deputy Minister concluded that Sri Lanka believes that the SCO could play a vital role in successfully tackling these new threats.
Deputy Minister Perera attended an official lunch for Heads of Delegation participating at the High Level Conference, hosted by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on 4 June 2015 and met his counterpart, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as well where he briefed on the latest developments in Sri Lanka, including the recent constitutional amendments and measures taken towards achieving national reconciliation. Both parties noted with satisfaction, the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Sri Lanka and the Russian Federation and agreed to work towards expanding the economic partnership between the two countries, for which there is tremendous scope. There was agreement that the time is opportune for the exchange of high level visits between the two countries. The Russian side expressed its support with regard to Sri Lanka’s desire to play a bigger role in the SCO by becoming an Observer of the organisation from its current position as a Dialogue Partner.
At a meeting Deputy Minister Perera had with the representatives of the Sri Lankan community in Moscow at the Embassy of Sri Lanka, useful suggestions were put forward by community representatives, particularly with regard to the expansion of the economic dimension of the relations. Deputy Minister Perera emphasized the importance of enhancing people-to-people contacts between the two countries in his interaction with the Sri Lankan community representatives.