|Australia offers Sri Lanka $34m of aid for education|
“stable society with economic growth”
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr visiting Sri Lanka announced on Saturday millions of dollars in aid to boost educational opportunities in Sri Lanka, hoping it will help stem the flow of illegal immigrants from the island. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told reporters in Colombo that US$36 million will be spent over four years to help some four million primary and secondary school children in Sri Lanka and contribute to a “stable society with economic growth”.
During his three-day visit to Sri Lanka from December 14-17, the Australian Minister is scheduled hold talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Professor G.L. Peiris and President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka’s defence ministry announced on Friday that nearly 3,000 of the country’s nationals had been stopped from illegally journeying by boat to Australia during the current year.
Australia has sent more than 500 Sri Lankans back to Colombo since August. The country is struggling to deal with a record number of asylum-seekers, many from Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq, who are paying people-smugglers to take them on the perilous journey, often on rickety, wooden fishing vessels.