Sri Lanka has taken swift strides in the aftermath of the conflict and the US would be there with Sri Lanka and have its back when taking such steps since it is not an easy task, US Permanent Representative to the UN Samantha Power assured on Thursday.
Addressing a US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council Meeting in Washington, US she said that she had traveled to many places going through transition and change, many of which have gone through conflict.
“Each conflict is different from the other. Conflicts also have left deep scars in nations, as it has in Sri Lanka. I can say I have never seen a country take such swift strides in so little time. I think it’s extremely important that when a country takes such steps that the United States be there with you and have your back because it’s certainly not easy,” she said.
She said that US President Barrack Obama, himself, places importance on relationship with Sri Lanka and that his commitment continues to support President Maithripala Sirisena in his efforts to ensure that Sri Lanka delivers socio-economic benefits for the people of the country.
“The wounds from the war run deep in people’s hearts and souls, the political headwinds that one faces, particularly when one is trying to execute as ambitious an agenda as President Sirisena and his government are doing – those headwinds can be very intense – and there’s a ton of work left to be done, including on such goals as transitional justice, promoting lasting reconciliation, improving the quality of governance, clearing out the red tape, all of the issues that you all are trying to work through,” she said.
Meanwhile, Power said Sri Lanka has emerged as a global champion of human rights and democratic accountability since January 2015, after becoming a sad example of creeping authoritarianism very recently.
“In an era where you see yet another world leader trying to change their constitution, expand the powers of whatever office they hold, here you have a situation where President Sirisena’s government has passed an amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution that reintroduced a two-term limit and reduced the power of his own office,” she said.
Achieving the socio-economic growth that people want right now is probably going to take a little more time given the legacy of war, the corruption, and the economic mismanagement of recent years, and some of the global economic dynamics, Power said.
“The Joint Action Plan being adopted will help make this happen. It will expand trade, encourage foreign investment, and spur growth – and in so doing, it will help boost employment, income, and living standards,” she said.