US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo will have bilateral talks in Sri Lanka during a brief visit next week, the Government said today.
Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters today that the visit by the US Secretary of State has been confirmed.
He said that the visit will take place under a ‘travel bubble’ concept with the consent of health officials.
Meanwhile, the Indian Express reported that in the final week before the US presidential elections on November 3, Pompeo plans to visit India’s two Indian Ocean neighbours, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, after attending the 2+2 talks in Delhi.
In Delhi, the talks will involve Pompeo, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Pompeo’s stop in Colombo later comes amid US and Indian concerns at China’s stepped-up engagement with the government of recently elected Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Indian Express reported.
Earlier this month, a high-profile Chinese delegation led by Yang Jeichi, former foreign minister, Communist Party Politburo member and head of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, had visited Colombo. Following discussions with the delegation, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had said that the two sides would restart negotiations for a free trade agreement, and aim to complete the Colombo Port City and other projects quickly. He also said he wanted a China-style development for Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)