Colombo, Nov 30 (IANS) Sri Lanka aims to prevent maritime crime and drug trafficking in local waters and has conveyed its intention to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), media reports said here on Saturday.
In the talks held between Miwa Cato, director of operations at UNODC, and Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena, both sides discussed maritime crime prevention and drug trafficking in Sri Lankan waters.
A media release by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Sri Lanka appreciates UNODC’s assistance in strengthening the country’s maritime security capacity in the Indian Ocean.
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha stressed Sri Lanka’s need for comprehensive long-term support, including transfer of appropriate technologies in order to build local capacity to combat drug trafficking and other maritime crimes.
Sri Lanka and the UNODC also vowed to find pragmatic solutions to curbing illegal drug operations inside Sri Lankan prisons through preventative measures such as capacity building for prison staff.
Earlier this week, Secretary of Defence Kamal Gunaratne had said that the new government would take strict measures to increase Navy patrols in Sri Lankan waters and end the maritime drug route operating through the country’s territory.