US softening stance on Sri Lanka: Keheliya
May 3, 2014

Repeated requests to the international community and to the US that Sri Lanka’s reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes be looked at positively appears to have borne fruit with the US softening its stance on Sri Lanka, Government Spokesman and Minister Keheliya Ramukwella said yesterday.

Commenting on the non-confrontational comments made by Nisha Desai Biswal the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs to the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, the minister said the US has now realized the ground realities in Sri Lanka.

Ms. Biswal said Sri Lanka was going through a fragile transition period though the war ended in 2009.

"While we saw the end of a brutal conflict in 2009, the country is still undergoing a fragile transition. While we are disappointed that the government has failed over the past four years to take adequate and meaningful steps to support accountability and reconciliation, the United States is committed to working with the people and the Sri Lankan Government to strengthen its democracy and to help the country move towards a more durable peace," she had told the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.The minister said these remarks are positive and encouraging and that Sri Lanka was committed to work closely with the US in every sphere.

“We have maintained a strong and friendly bond for several decades and both countries benefited from these links,” he said.

The minister thanked the US Government for its cooperation in controlling terrorist financing and money laundering in Sri Lanka and recalled how the US had taken punitive action against certain Sri Lankans who funded the LTTE and attempted to ship weapons while domiciled in the US and Canada. He said the goals and policies of both countries on terrorism, democracy and human rights are the same and therefore more can be done by the US and Sri Lanka to promote those worthy ideals.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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