Global Jewish advocacy group holds talks in Lanka

AJCIsaacsonAE_600_458_90A delegation from the AJC, a leading global Jewish advocacy organization, has had talks in Sri Lanka with the Government and US officials.

A statement by the AJC said that during the visit the AJC ‎delegation joined Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva in launching the Sri Lankan-Jewish Friendship Association.

The event was one element of a two-day program of meetings and consultations by a 16-member delegation, led by Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy, and Robert Peckar, member of AJC’s Board of Governors and Asia Pacific Institute (API) board..

“As Sri Lanka, with its long civil war behind it, strengthens its partnership with the United States‎, AJC is committed to expanding its contact and cooperation with this strategically important sister democracy,” said Isaacson. “We are committed, as well, to reinforcing and celebrating Sri Lanka’s ties to the Jewish people, including its growing relationship with Israel.”

“In our journey to consolidate peace and promote economic and social development, Sri Lanka looks to its friends in the international community for support and encouragement,” said Deputy Foreign Minister de Silva. “We hope that AJC will also help mobilize support for Sri Lanka in our efforts.”

Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defense, and Ambassador Ranjith Gunarante, Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s, Middle East and Africa Division, were among the Sri Lankan officials with whom the AJC delegation met. The group also met with U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Atul Keshap, and with Asanka Ratnayake, President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Sri Lanka.

This visit continued a more than 20-year tradition of AJC consultations in South Asia, where the global Jewish advocacy organization has had continuous representation since 1994. AJC engagement in Sri Lanka has included humanitarian relief efforts, in partnership with IsraAID, following the December 2004 South Asia tsunami.

AJC maintains close ties with Sri Lankan officials and other representatives in Colombo and in the United States, in Israel, and elsewhere through its Asia Pacific Institute. The Institute is chaired by Jeffrey Stone and directed by Shira Loewenberg. (Colombo Gazette)