By Sandun A Jayasekera
President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to address the 5th Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) today in Dushnabe, Tajikistan.
The CICA is an international forum to strengthen cooperation, established to ensure peace, security and stability in Asia. It was set up in 1992. Sri Lanka received observer status in 2012 and became a member in 2018.
The CICA member States include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. CICA membership cover about 90 percent of the territory and population of Asia. Eight states and five international organizations, including the UN have observer status.
The CICA membership will further enhance Sri Lanka’s bilateral, economic and trade cooperation as well as people to people contacts with other CICA member States. CICA is different from other security mechanisms which are commonly dominated by super powers. It has the characteristics of an “Asian initiative,” which values equality among members, and is led by small countries.
At the Dushnabe Summit, CICA leaders will examine ways and means of strengthening economic ties and step up trade and investment.