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​Kerry in Sri Lanka

2 May 2015 03:33 am - 11     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Sri Lanka a short while ago. It is the first time in a decade that a US secretary of state has visited Sri Lanka.The 35-member delegation was welcomed by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the air port.

A senior State Department official, who briefed reporters on the visit, said Kerry's visit would focus on early efforts by Sirisena to advance democracy and human rights, tackle corruption, and launch a process of national reconciliation.

Kerry will meet with President Maithripala Sirisena, his Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, as well as R. Sampanthan, who heads the main ethnic Tamil political party.

He will also discuss U.S. interest in expanding trade and investment with Sri Lanka, the official said. The country exports roughly $2.5 billion in goods to the United States a year.

"A lot has to do with conditions on the ground and policies undertaken by the Sri Lanka government," the official added.

The official said Washington was "encouraged" by the new government's cooperation with the United Nations over a U.N. report on possible war atrocities during the final stages of the country's civil war.

The U.N. said Rajapaksa's government had failed to properly investigate war crimes. In February, at the request of Sirisena's government, the U.N. Human Rights Council agreed to delay the release of the U.N. report until September.

While Sirisena appears to be more wiling to work with the U.N., his government has said it wants to conduct the war crimes investigation with assistance from the U.N.

"It's a real opening in terms of Sri Lanka's relations with the international community and with the United Nations," the State Department official said of the cooperation with the U.N., adding: "We'll have to see where this goes with Sri Lanka and its dialogue with the U.N."

John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, said Kerry should offer support and encouragement during the visit but not give the new government a seal of approval.

There were signs that the government was trying to set up a purely domestic mechanism to deal with war crimes despite assurances of international oversight, Sifton said.

"Kerry needs to tell Sri Lanka now that if they go down this purely domestic approach to the massive past crimes, the U.S.-Sri Lanka honeymoon is going to sour," he added. (With Reuters inputs)

US Secretary of State visits Kelaniya Temple





Pix by Lal S Kumara - Kelaniya
 
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  Comments - 11

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

  • keethan Saturday, 02 May 2015 01:30 PM

    Welcome to Srilanka...

    MightyAnt Saturday, 02 May 2015 01:46 PM

    At last a leader from a civilized country. Wish you pleasant stay and look forward for a visit from president Obama.

    ruwan Saturday, 02 May 2015 02:04 PM

    true Lankan sounds like having some guilt. What harm having friends in the US, India and China.

    Fassey Saturday, 02 May 2015 02:28 PM

    Welcome . Good international relationship is very essential for the development of our country. Having cordial relationship with USA is of course will benefit SL a lot.

    true Lankan Saturday, 02 May 2015 09:36 AM

    Dear Kerry pls apply the same rules to US war crimes in Iraq Afghanistan etc & dont forget to press for similar (or worse ) crimes by your pal Israel in Palestine. via DM Android App

    cheers Saturday, 02 May 2015 09:49 AM

    Here comes the advisor to MS,RW,CBK and Mangala to SL. Where are you Anura Kumara, SF and Arjuna joined the above club

    Gamarala Saturday, 02 May 2015 10:06 AM

    I wonder what they really want.Why a 35 member delegation? I hope Sri Lankans are mature enough to avoid the fate the befell many countries. Enough said.

    siribi Saturday, 02 May 2015 10:12 AM

    Will he assure that he will set an example to Sri Lanka by forcing to Publish the Chilcot Report and prosecute Tony Blair and George Bush for the massive war crimes done by the pair, in the unwanted Iraq war. ?

    Dalu Banada Saturday, 02 May 2015 10:24 AM

    Yankee Doodle come to town A-riding aero pla-nee He stuck a feather in his hat And called it warc- ri-mee

    aruna Saturday, 02 May 2015 11:42 AM

    Holidaying at our cost

    ANTON Saturday, 02 May 2015 11:56 AM

    HAA HAAA, YANKIYA DANSAL KAALA THORAN BALANDA AWILLA.....


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