Sri Lanka has decided to seek observer status in the multi-national forum, Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which was formed in 1992 for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
The Cabinet of Ministers at the meeting on Wednesday approved a proposal made by External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris to seek observer status in the diverse organisation.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will announce Sri Lanka’s intention to join the CICA during his visit to Kazakhstan on 20 November.
The organisation, formed on an initiative of the Kazakhstan President, currently has 24 member countries of Central Asia, Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. India and Pakistan are also among the member states, while Bangladesh is an observer.
International organisations such as the UN, League of Arab States, and several other countries including the US, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia have obtained observer status.
During the President’s visit to Astana, Sri Lanka will enter into an agreement with Kazakhstan on cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries. Cabinet has granted approval to a proposal put forward by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa to sign and ratify an agreement for cooperation in the tourism sector.
The proposed agreement will enhance the bilateral relationship between the two countries, strengthen tourism flow into Sri Lanka, and open new avenues for trade and investments, the Government said.
Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May this year, to expand bilateral relations between the two countries and hold regular consultations between the Ministries of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.
The first round of annual bilateral consultations between the two countries was held in September at the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo. During the meeting, the two countries had discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation further in the political, economic, cultural, and scientific and educational fields. Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan on 29 June 1992.