The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal has said that the relationship between the United States and Sri Lanka is “at an all-time high.”
Sharing her views soon after her meeting with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday, Biswal who is in Sri Lanka on an official visit also said that Sri Lanka was on a remarkable trajectory in addressing internal challenges, while also engaging with the international community.
“We will continue to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it takes meaningful and concrete steps in relation to democratic governance, while working towards ensuring reconciliation, justice and accountability,” she said.
While underscoring the ‘deepening’ ties between both countries, she said that both the US and Sri Lanka were ‘partners’ and every effort will be taken to ensure that the common goals of the two countries, which are to promote and protect human rights and freedom of everyone is ensured.
“We are partners and today our relationship is at an all-time high,” Biswal said.
Samaraweera also highlighted that his Government has being working towards consolidating the relations between US and Sri Lanka.
“We have seen a series of visits from the United States since January last year. This included the Cabinet-level visits of Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ambassador Samantha Power. These high-level visits, combined with the hard work of Assistant Secretary Biswal and Assistant Secretary Malinowski, and others including our respective Ambassadors in the United States and in Sri Lanka, we have succeeded in consolidating relations between our two countries,” he said.
Biswal is in Sri Lanka with Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski. During their stay, they will meet high-level Government officials including President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as well as opposition parties, including Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan.
Sri Lanka’s relations with the West, including with the US took a beating during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s term, as he isolated Sri Lanka from the western world and leaned towards countries such as China. Since coming into power last year, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe duo has been working hard to mend fences with the international community, although in the recent past, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe too has been leaning towards China hoping for an increase in Chinese led investments to Sri Lanka, in the backdrop of the country’s economy continuing to take a tumble. ( By Munza Mushtaq © Colombo Telegraph)