The United States says it hopes some policies will continue in Sri Lanka following the November 16 Presidential elections.
The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz told The Sunday Morning that the US will work with any government that emerges from the election process.
“We don’t have a candidate in this. We maintain contacts with politicians across the political spectrum. We would of course like to see some policy continuity on issues that are important to us, but again, we know that when governments change, they come with different priorities and we will find a way to maintain our connectivity,” she said.
She also said that she had met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Leader of the Joint Opposition and had very cordial meetings and discussions.
“I always welcome the opportunity to express the policies of my Government and here, the priorities of others. I don’t think that we will have an issue working with an SLPP government any more than we’d have working with a UNP government or a government led by any other party or coalition. As I said earlier, sometimes we don’t agree. In the many times we do agree, we want to pursue areas of common interest and want to be able to have an open and honest dialogue about those things that we don’t agree on. So at least, we can be clear and understand one another and maybe move forward to address issues of mutual concern,” she said.
On China’s presence in Sri Lanka the US envoy said that what concerns the US is not China per se or Chinese investment, but rather the nature of that investment.
“It’s the nature of the relationship. Does it deliver value for the people of Sri Lanka or is it going to cause harm? Is it creating a mortgage for the future? Does it create vulnerabilities, because when there is debt there is obligation or is there no opportunity for the Sri Lankans, for example, to work on projects or to benefit from special arrangements So I think those are the questions that we have out there. And I’d say, try to uphold a very high standard with regard, particularly, to development relationships and programmes and financing. Also in our business activities, we believe in transparency. We have laws against corrupt practices and we hold our businesses to really high standards and account. With countries that don’t do that, you have to wonder what’s going on behind the scenes and who is really benefiting from those relationships,” the Ambassador said.