US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will raise concerns on China and also discuss issues related to human rights during his visit to Sri Lanka next week.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean R. Thompson said that Pompeo will meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to emphasize the US commitment to a strong, independent, and democratic Sri Lanka.
“We want to partner with Sri Lanka on our shared goals of sustainable economic development and a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that in the interest of strengthening America’s longstanding partnership with Sri Lanka and reinforcing its long-term commitment to the region, the US will encourage Sri Lanka to review the options the US offers for transparent and sustainable economic development in contrast to discriminatory and opaque practices.
“Obviously, we watch closely developments in Sri Lanka on these fronts, and the Secretary will, of course, be raising issues related to human rights, reconciliation, and our common commitment to democracy. Our partnership with Sri Lanka goes back a long way, through a lot of different eras, and right now, we think they’re at a point to make some choices about where they head. With regard to your question on China in particular, I think we’re looking to frame a discussion with them about a more positive trajectory, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. So definitely we’ll be discussing where they’re headed and looking for ways to strengthen their commitment to human rights rule of law and democracy,” Thompson said in response to a question raised at a teleconference media briefing.
Thompson said the US will urge Sri Lanka to make difficult but necessary decisions to secure its economic independence for long-term prosperity, and the US stands ready to partner with Sri Lanka for its economic development and growth.
He said the Secretary will continue to urge Sri Lanka to advance democratic governance, human rights, reconciliation, religious freedom, and justice, which promote the country’s long-term stability and prosperity and ensure the dignity and equality of all Sri Lanka’s diverse communities. (Colombo Gazette)