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Strengthen SL-US ties, member of Congress urge Obama

12 February 2012 10:38 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A group of influential members of Congress have urged President Barack Obama to strengthen ties between the United States and Sri Lanka, noting Sri Lanka’s May 2009 triumph over terrorism, its flourishing trade ties with U.S. companies and its regional strategic importance, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington stated.

“After three decades of internal strife, Sri Lanka has an opportunity to move forward as a unified nation guided by its
democratic ideals and institutions,” the letter states.


“For the first time in more than a generation, the United States has an opportunity to develop a relationship with a united Sri Lanka,” the letter tells President Obama. “Accordingly, we urge your Administration to take steps to strengthen our ties with Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka, a Southeast Asian democracy of 21 million, will soon enter its third year of lasting peace and growing prosperity since the end of its conflict with the terrorist group the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam. Since the terrorist group’s defeat, there have been no further terrorist incidents, while Sri Lanka’s GDP climbed to 8.4 per cent in 2011, unemployment dropped to 4.3 per cent and inflation also dropped markedly to about 5 per cent.

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.,)  and signed by 11 other members of Congress in both the Democrat and Republican parties. Rep. Kingston was one of three Congressmen who travelled to Sri Lanka last fall to explore its post-conflict reconciliation and development work. Representatives Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), also took part in the trip and signed the letter.

The letter notes that Sri Lanka has, “opened dialogues with a number of U.S. companies for the acquisition of heavy equipment, aircraft, energy technologies and other products,” and it highlights the importance strengthening, “Our mutual strategic interests in foreign policy and defence by maintaining the peace in the waterways near and along the Indian Ocean and continuing a military training partnership.”

The letter also emphasises Sri Lanka’s post-conflict efforts to resettle the displaced and rebuild stricken areas and pursue a program of reconciliation among its ethnic groups.

“We welcome Sri Lanka's willingness to preemptively report on its civil conflict by establishing a politically diverse and independent Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission,” the letter states. “As Sri Lanka pursues these positive steps, it should know it has a friend in the United States.”

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasruiya, praised the Congressional call for stronger Sri Lankan-US ties.

“We welcome this call for even stronger relations between Sri Lanka and the US,” Ambassador Wickramasuriya said. “We have had diplomatic relations with the US for 64 years, and we have always supported its strategic and trade priorities. We are also a partner in the fight against terrorism. Both of our democracies will benefit from the initiatives these Congressional leaders propose.”  
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  Comments - 4

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  • Nodrog Monday, 13 February 2012 08:43 AM

    Bullying us is NOT the way to go about strengthening ties.

    gajan99 Monday, 13 February 2012 01:34 AM

    President Obama, Please help

    Tamila Monday, 13 February 2012 05:47 AM

    SEAL is on the way for MR

    fazli Monday, 13 February 2012 06:52 AM

    Oh No.. Wait we are still exploring possibilities of
    Oil in Mannar. Long way to go.


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