“Our diplomatic relations are at an all-time high, and we are now working with Sri Lanka to implement the steps agreed to in the resolution we jointly sponsored at the UN Human Rights Council last year,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told lawmakers, according to the Press Trust of India.
The bilateral relationship with Lanka has transformed over the last few years, she said and attributed it to the unity government led by a president and prime minister that are committed to reforms that can benefit all Sri Lankans.
“Sri Lanka now has the opportunity to assume its rightful place as a leader in the international community, one that contributes to the global economy; promotes human rights, accountability, transitional justice, and democracy; and that helps to uphold international law.
“Sri Lankas strategic position in the Indian Ocean makes it a key player in regional efforts to ensure maritime security, protect freedom of navigation, and respond to natural disasters,” she said during a Congressional hearing.
“Its natural ports, abundant resources and entrepreneurial people all mean enormous potential for economic growth and connectivity. With all of these factors in mind, our FY 2017 budget request of USD 39.8 million will support the governments reforms to stimulate trade and investment, improve governance and human rights, and pursue reconciliation and accountability,” she said.
This past month, the launch of US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue expanded and reinforced the cooperation in development, governance, energy, trade and security, she said.
“Our approach to make Sri Lankas economy stronger is truly whole-of government,” she said.
The USTR hosted the US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council Meeting at the end of April.
“Through the Department of Commerce, we train Sri Lankan business leaders and government officials in best practices for their nascent tourism industry, which is on track to have a banner year. And the Treasury Department will soon embed an advisor in Sri Lankas Ministry of Finance, who will assist the ministry with public financial management reforms for the next two years,” Biswal added. (Colombo Gazette)