Lanka offers US counter terror assistance

Sri Lanka is keen to offer the United States counter terrorism expertise and assistance as part of efforts to broaden ties between both countries.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, was quoted in the Congress Blog as saying that Sri Lanka believes the U.S. has an opportunity to participate in rebuilding the war battered country.

“We have investment requirements ranging from education, clean energy and tourism to maritime security and defense opportunities also exist for commercial partnerships, building the infrastructure of Sri Lanka’s future,” he said.

He said that as US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy pivots to Asia and the vision of “America’s Pacific Century” unfolds, U.S. strategic relations with Sri Lanka must also be examined.

“We are moving in the right direction and are keen to broaden our bilateral relationship with the U.S., as recommended in the 2009 Kerry-Lugar Senate Report on Sri Lanka. This report concluded the need to re-chart U.S. strategy in Sri Lanka beyond humanitarian and political reforms. Indeed, there are many avenues of cooperation, including in the strategic and defense area where Sri Lanka can offer its experience in defeating terrorism,” he said.

Like any democracy, the Ambassador says Sri Lanka faces its share of challenges and agree that while much has been accomplished since 2009, more needs to be done.

He says the government has met unexpected challenges that have slowed progress on implementation of LLRC recommendations but as in any post-conflict effort, reconciliation and accountability take time.

“The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, fostering national reconciliation, and pursuing peace. This commitment is not just to democracy, but also to respecting rule of law and the principles of sovereignty,” he said.

The Ambassador says Sri Lanka is well positioned to build on its 200-year-old trade partnership with the U.S. and become a stronger geopolitical and strategic ally in the decades to come. (Colombo Gazette)