The efforts taken by Sri Lanka to successfully rebuild the country and to reconcile its people would set an example to the rest of the world which is burdened with conflict today, visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs-Designate Thomas Shannon said today.
“… What happens in Sri Lanka is of global consequence. United States is proud to be a partner in the effort taken by Sri Lanka and proud to be an ally of Sri Lanka,” he said commenting on the United State assistance extended to Sri Lanka to develop the Eastern Province.
He said the US was also partnering to help conflict-affected families resettle in their communities which include a wide range of services, from shelters to sanitation to schools.
“It’s been a long road, and there is still far to travel. But the United States will steadfastly support Sri Lankans as they continue on their historic journey towards prosperity, peace, and reconciliation. Together, we can build better lives and create better futures for the people of both our nations,” Mr. Shannon said.
Though he is being in Sri Lanka for less than two days, he said it’s been so exciting to witness first-hand the important work that communities, civil society organizations, and local authorities across the island are undertaking to improve the living standards of Sri Lankans.
“I am impressed by the progress your country has made, both economically and socially. And the United States is so proud to work with you and help support that progress. For nearly 60 years, US development assistance has invested in the people of Sri Lanka, in their communities, and in the relationship between our two nations,” he said.
USAID’s disability programs also help people get access to high quality rehabilitation services, so that they can do the everyday activities that so many of us take for granted, he said adding the US will continue their support to communities in the East, currently worth more than 3.2 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($23 million).
“We are supporting programs that bring together Tamil, Sinhalese, and Muslim youth on the sports field. And we are providing them with English language and entrepreneurship training, as well as opportunities for exchange programs, and ways to address issues like gender-based violence,” he said.
He said the US was also working with partners in the East to help demining. “We’re moving toward a future where a farmer can till a field and a child can play cricket without any fear of losing a limb, or worse, to a hidden land mine,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said as honored as he was to be nominated to be the next Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, he may want to stay in Sri Lanka.