Visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Designate) Thomas Shannon, speaking in Trincomalee today, said that during his visit it was exciting to witness first-hand the important work that communities, civil society organizations, and local authorities across this 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, U.S. development assistance has invested in the people of Sri Lanka, in their communities, and in the relationship between our two nations,” he said.
He says the US is proud to have played a part in the amazing things Sri Lanka has accomplished over nearly 60 years and in the decades ahead, the US will continue to focus on areas critical to long-term progress.
“We will work toward equitable economic growth – especially in less-developed regions – creating more jobs and higher incomes. And we will work toward an enhanced partnership between the state, civil society, and citizens. That means a strong legal system, a robust civil society, and an effective government that is able to deliver services to all Sri Lankans,” he added.
He said the US will continue 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. We’re also working with partners in the East to help eradicate the risk from those terrible remnants of war – landmines. That means increasing mine-risk awareness and building the capacity of mine detection teams. 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 added.
Shannon said the United States will steadfastly support the Sri Lankan people as they continue on their historic journey towards prosperity, peace, and reconciliation. (Colombo Gazette)