Minister Prof. Peiris briefs the media on the outcome of his visit to USA Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info)
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 14:05
The Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris addressing a media briefing held today (1st June 2010) on the outcome of his recent visit to the United States stated that he was very much encouraged by the US leadership’s extremely positive response towards Sri Lanka government’s initiatives since the end of the war. When Minister Peiris had expressed appreciations for the recent removal of the US travel warning on Sri Lanka, Secretary Clinton had observed that it was a vote of confidence in Sri Lanka as well as a reflection on the safe and secure environment.
The Minister stated that following the two national elections which produced resounding electoral mandates for the government, the US has expressed confidence about the democratic process and the political leadership of Sri Lanka. The Minister pointed out that the US political culture is characterised by respect for democratic electoral processes. The Minister had also briefed Secretary Clinton about the revival of the democratic process that was interrupted due to terrorism in the North and the East, including holding of island wide elections. He also briefed the US side about the removal of the majority of the Emergency Regulations that were enacted during the conflict. The US side had also appreciated President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s consultations with the Tamil leadership during the ongoing political consultations.

Commenting on the US government’s reaction to the establishment of a ‘Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission’, Minister Peiris stated that the US leadership expressed the view that the Commission must be given space to carry out its mandate. The Minister also stated that he had explained to Secretary Clinton that Sri Lanka had established the Commission in good faith and that she agreed that it holds much promise.

The US officials during discussions had expressed appreciation for the multi faceted progress achieved under the guidance of H.E. the President in the area of resettlement. Minister Peiris had pointed out to the US side that not only must the returnees be able to settle physically in their home villages, they must also be able to live with dignity which can only be ensured when livelihoods are restored and infrastructure is rebuilt. The bilateral discussions had also focused on the diaspora and the role they can play in the post-conflict reconstruction process. The US side had expressed a desire to deepen the bilateral relationship and strengthen areas such as trade and commerce.

Minister Peiris observed that Sri Lanka, in its capacity of Chair of G-15, is now at the helm of an organisation whose priorities are shared by the US government. H.E. the President when he accepted the Chairmanship of the G-15 had advocated the Group to cultivate more closer relationship with the G-8 Group of developed nations which includes the United States. Such interactions at the international level offer plenty of scope for Sri Lanka and the United States to broaden its overall engagement, the Minister observed. He added that a strong relationship with the United States would play a pivotal role at a time when Sri Lanka is trying to recover from the past conflict.

External Affairs Minister Prof. Peiris also met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon during his visit and held discussions.