MINISTER OF PORTS AND AVIATION VISITS
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
At the invitation of Transportation Secretary
Norman Mineta, Minister to attend International Summit on Aviation
Safety and Security
in Washington DC
Minister Samaraweera to sign MoU with
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham under the “MegaPorts Initiative”
Minister of Ports & Aviation of Sri Lanka,
Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, will visit Washington D.C. from July
18-22, 2004. While in Washington DC, the Minister of Ports &
Aviation will attend The International Summit on Aviation
Safety and Security hosted by the George Washington University
Consortium of the George Washington University Aviation Institute
from July 19-22, 2004 at the invitation of the US Secretary of
Transportation Norman Y. Mineta.
During the visit, the Minister of Ports & Aviation will also
meet with the US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham to discuss
matters related to prevention of illicit shipment of nuclear and
radioactive material and, will also focus on matters of port and
aviation security with the Transportation Security Administration
of the US Department of Homeland Security.
International Summit on Aviation Safety and Security
Minister Samaraweera is attending the International Summit on
Aviation Safety and Security at the invitation of the US Secretary
of Transportation Norman Mineta and the George Washington University
Consortium of the George Washington University Aviation Institute.
The Summit Program sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration
of the US Department of Transportation with active assistance
from the US Department of State and the Transportation Security
Administration, is administered by the George Washington University
Consortium. The Summit will discuss ways and means of increasing
cooperation on international aviation safety and security and
in ensuring continuing compliance with ICAO Standards in those
areas. The participants at Ministerial level will discuss the
essential elements of civil aviation safety and security from
a policy perspective.
Port and Aviation Security
Port and aviation security has emerged as a critical issue in
the global war on terrorism and keeping the global trading system
open. Sri Lanka as a trade dependent economy with over 70% of
GDP generated by trade, relies on ports and airports to trade
with the world. In particular, with US$1.8 billion of exports
destined to the US as the largest trading partner, port and container
security are vital for the competitiveness of Sri Lankan exports
and employment generation. Promotion of Colombo as a transportation
hub also requires increased levels of port and aviation security.
Airport Security is also critical for the country’s transportation,
commercial and trading interests.
Container and Aviation Security
Director General Sri Lanka Customs and the US Deputy Commissioner
of Customs and Border Protection signed the Declaration of Principles
relating to the implementation of the Container Security Initiative
(CSI) and, Sri Lanka and the US have signed an Air Transport Agreement
establishing an open skies policy to boost air transport links
between the two countries. Sri Lanka will also participate in
a bilateral airport security initiative with the US. With this
necessary framework in place, collaboration in port security,
airport security and civil aviation will be further enhanced.
Minister Samaraweera will sign a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) concerning Cooperation to Prevent the Illicit Trafficking
in Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material between the US
Department of Energy and the Ministry of Ports and Aviation of
Sri Lanka. This MoU is part of the “MegaPorts” initiative
of the US Department of Energy which seeks to curb the illicit
movement of radioactive and nuclear material worldwide and to
prevent nuclear smugglers and terrorists from using the shipping
network for illicit purposes. US –Sri Lanka cooperation
under this MoU will enhance security at the Colombo Port.
The Minister and the United States Secretary of Energy, Spencer
Abraham will discuss issues related to the implementation of the
MoU which is being signed within two weeks of initiating discussions
between the two countries. Representatives from the Department
of Energy’s “MegaPorts” initiative will visit
Colombo to discuss the program with Sri Lankan officials. The
signing of this MoU marks yet another significant milestone in
US-Sri Lanka bilateral relations and will further enhance the
partnership in key areas.
Container Security Initiative (CSI)
Senior Officials of the Department of Homeland Security will
discuss with Minister Samaraweera port and aviation security matters.
In particular, Minister Samaraweera will discuss implementation
of the Container Security Initiative (CSI). The CSI was established
to increase the security of the world’s maritime trading
system through strengthening customs cooperation at seaports.
Sri Lanka and the United States signed the Declaration of Principles
for the US Container Security Initiative on June 25, 2003.
The CSI will help secure speedy clearance and movement of trade
between Sri Lanka and the ports of the United States without undue
delays in the process of container shipment. Preliminary work
has been underway to prepare for the installation of non-intrusive
inspectional equipment at the Colombo Port to scan targeted containers
bound for US ports. This Initiative has been further supplemented
by Sri Lanka’s compliance with the International Ship and
Port Security (ISPS) Code of the International Maritime Organization
US Trade and Development Agency & Airport Financing
Minister Samaraweera will discuss with the Director of the United
States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) ways and means to
move forward on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between
the Government of Sri Lanka and the USTDA in November 2003. The
MoU enables USTDA funding in the area of aviation and communication
technology. USTDA finances technical assistance, feasibility studies,
orientation visits and business workshops, among others. During
this meeting the Minister will specifically focus on USTDA assistance
for airport development and air traffic management and other civil
aviation issues. Preparatory work for the implementation of the
CSI is funded by the USTDA.
The visit of Minister Samaraweera is part of an ongoing process
of high level consultations between Sri Lanka and the US on security
issues related to securing Sri Lanka’s trade and aviation
interests within the rubric of increasing bilateral trade and
The Minister of Ports and Aviation is accompanied by Mr. A. Hewage
Secretary, Ministry of Ports and Aviation, Mr. M.K.A.M. Hizbullah,
Chairman, Airport and Aviation (Sri Lanka) Ltd and Mr. H.M.C.
Nimalasiri, Director-General, Civil Aviation Authority.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
18 July 2004