Though everyone wants Sri Lanka to move on a fast pace in terms of reforms, a top US official yesterday said it was more important to make sure these reforms are enduring and sustainable.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, who was in Sri Lanka for a brief visit, expressed these views at a joint news briefing together with Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam at the Ministry.
Responding to a question, Mr. Shannon said everyone wants things to move faster but they have to understand other aspects as well.
“Obviously, we all want a fast pace. I think nobody wants it more than Sri Lankan people and the Sri Lankan government. We recognize Sri Lanka is emerging from a very complicated environment of a conflict. We always want to make things move faster but we want to make sure as they are completed and consolidated that they are enduring and sustainable. That’s why we are partners with Sri Lanka in this process as Sri Lankans themselves have to make this move,” he said.
He said the whole world was watching Sri Lanka because of the incredible commitment it made overcoming the consequences of the conflict in the country to address the issue.
“The rest of the world wants Sri Lanka to be successful because they realised that Sri Lanka could be an example or a model to many of the countries around the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, he commended Sri Lanka for its decision to commit to a process of reforms that promotes greater prosperity of all Sri Lankans regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Mr. Shannon said the US fully supports Sri Lanka government's working to a reconcile Sri Lanka and commended the process of steps towards a new constitution.
Responding to a question, Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam said Sri Lanka's partnership with the US was not an alliance as such but a partnership.
“Having partnerships with many countries does not contradict Sri Lanka's policy of non-alignment in terms of our political approach to our political affairs. Sri Lanka is a country that believes in inclusive relations rather exclusive relations, so our partnership with the US we believe is a positive element in our approach towards international relations that is based on not having alliances,” he said.
The meeting prior to the news briefing between officials of the two country was focused on next round of Sri Lanka and the US’s Partnership Dialogue which demonstrates the consolidation of cooperation between the United States and Sri Lanka. (Lahiru Pothmulla)
Pix by Pradeep Pathirana