28 September, 2020

Blog

What Can The US Do To Help Sri Lanka?

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

I am delighted to be here in Washington. It has been a good two-day visit and what better way to wind up than talking at the prestigious National Press Club, known as the place where news happens. I am aware of your Club’s storied history and I am indeed honored to be amongst all of you.

Let me start by quoting Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s words at Sri Lanka’s Independence Day celebrations here in Washington a few days ago. He said; “After the most successful election in your country’s history, Sri Lankans can stand proud alongside Americans as keepers of the democratic dream.”

Coming here after a very productive meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I believe I can safely say Deputy Secretary Blinken’s words underscore the importance of our friendship and resonates with an era of renewed relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sri Lanka and the United States of America, are two countries that share common values and ideals based on our commitment to democratic principles and governance. We enjoy long standing ties. In fact, people to people contact between our two countries pre-date the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948 by about 150 years. I have come with the message that we want to broaden and strengthen these ties and I have discussed with Secretary Kerry about the way forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today the USA has emerged as a major economic partner and remains the single largest export market for Sri Lanka. 23% of our total exports are absorbed by the USA. The United States is the second largest foreign direct investor in our country with over 70 American companies based in Sri Lanka. We have continued to benefit from trade concessions under the System of Generalized Preferences (GSP). The United States is therefore an important stakeholder in our country’s economic development.

Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean has since time immemorial made Sri Lanka a transit and destination point for travelers of the seas. Sri Lanka in the past few years, has invested considerable resources in expanding facilities at its maritime ports with the aim of becoming a major trans-shipment hub. The Sri Lanka – US partnership must take into account the island’s strategic location.

As I mentioned at the outset the common thread that binds our two countries are our values and ideals of democracy. This solid base gives us much scope to work together. What happened in Sri Lanka just over a month ago, when Sri Lanka elected a new President by the use of the ballot and not the bullet, is more than extraordinary in today’s global political context where popular uprisings against the status quo have become the norm. It was an election fraught with challenges but the will of our people prevailed in the end. To quote President Obama, Sri Lanka’s election is “a symbol of hope for those who support democracy all around the world.”

My visit to Washington so soon after the election was with the objective of briefing the United States Government on the road map which the new Government in Sri Lanka has drawn up to implement the pledges given to the people of our country during the election.

The government of President Maithripala Sirisena is deeply committed to strengthening democracy, independence of the judiciary, respect for the rule of law and ensuring that all communities in Sri Lanka enjoy the dividend of peace that has dawned in our country. In his speech on Independence Day last week, President Sirisena stated, I quote “the biggest challenge today is to unite the hearts of the people of the North and South through a national reconciliation process for co-existence.”

Our government has launched an ambitious 100-day Programme. We want all Sri Lankans and the international community to realize that we are fully committed to implementing our road map. In the last one month we have taken significant steps to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, to appoint civilian Governors to the Northern and Eastern Provinces and thereby giving the Provincial administration a new impetus. We are drafting legislation to re-establish the independent public service, police, judicial and elections commissions, a Right to Information Act. We are tackling corruption and abuse of power and we are committed to fulfilling our obligations to our people through the establishment of credible domestic mechanisms. We are reaching out to minority communities and ensuring that they are included and heard in all national processes.

The vision of the founding fathers of the United States, as well as that of the people of the United States over many generations has created a prosperous society that places a premium on hard work, merit and education.   Thus, over the course of its history the US has shown resilience and strength to rebound from any setback. We believe that Sri Lanka can learn from your country’s history and that the opportunity is before us to take our country forward to a new era of peace and prosperity. In this journey we consider the United States as an important partner.

Sri Lanka recognizes the goodwill and friendship that has been expressed by leaders and policy thinkers in the US towards Sri Lanka. These sentiments have once again been reiterated by Secretary Kerry this afternoon. Sri Lanka is keen to build upon this manifest goodwill. Close interaction at all levels between the two countries will help deepen and expand our partnership. My Government therefore hopes to continue the dialogue with the United States, which has commenced today following my meeting with Secretary Kerry, to take our relationship to greater heights.

Secretary Kerry asked me an important question today: What can the US do to help Sri Lanka?

Ladies and gentleman, as Sri Lanka moves forward on a new course that it is charting out for all its people, based on good governance, rule of law, justice and equality for all in the framework of a united country, what we need are friends – to support us and to stand by us to build a peaceful, prosperous and secure Sri Lanka. I am more than certain that we already have one such friend in the United States.

I thank you.

*Remarks by Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka at the National Press Club, Washington DC on February 12, 2015

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 13
    7

    Political Scientist and non career ex – diplomat at Geneva , Dr.DJ will be angry with you Mr Samaraweera for asking help from the US.

    As a strong supporter of Palestinians’ political struggle and supporter of Cuba , Dr.DJ is currently working towards bringing back MR as PM after the April elections. DJ does not like India as a whole and the dark skinned Dravidian part of India in particular.

    DJ is currently using Tamils as a pawn in his propaganda game to get more votes for MR led SLFP.
    His stand is that the majority only has the right to rule the country and the minorities should be happy with whatever concessions the majority gives. One can easily understand DJ s thinking that SL is not USA to produce an Obama and a candidate from minorities can not become the President or PM.

    For DJ, Laxman Kadirgamar or even Obama are not smart patriots of their mother country.
    Only he is an example of a smart patriot .
    So the likes of DJ are going to give problems to you or will undermine the progress of the current govt.

    • 0
      3

      Ambedkhar Reborn

      “DJ is currently using Tamils as a pawn in his propaganda game to get more votes for MR led SLFP.”

      So Both Dr.DJ and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa know that still a lot of Tamil Mootals Left in Sri Lanka. Of course there are many Sinhala Modayas left too.

      In Lanka, the Land of Native Beddah Aethho, being turned into a Mootall and Modaya Land by the Paras from India.

  • 12
    5

    I repeat here what I have commented upon before. Mangala Samaraweera has blossomed into excellent leadership material over the years. It is refreshing to see in the important location of Washington D.C. a Sri Lankan political leader of whom we have good reason to be proud of by his ability and performance. The Speech itself is inspiring and constructed in good, rich prose.
    Gone are those few years of grinning and salivating diplomacy littered with the words “this and that” to poorly articulate Sri Lanka’s needs by “diplomats” of below average learning, who in their utter ignorance, wasted the country’s finances with Kandyan Dancers and egg-hopper rice-and-curry dinners in the idiotic belief their guests are conquered with this poor fare. How much of the country’s meagre resources have been thus squandered. Not to mention utilising costly Lobbyists whose astronomical fees are usually inflated with huge commissions to middlemen. The input that followed was zilch. That was our share of Medamulana governance and diplomacy there.

    Sri Lanka must man our diplomatic missions with able and trained professionals; use our diplomats to complement the work of visiting Ministers. The Foreign Service should not be a dumping ground of rejected girl friends, sons, daughters, relatives and other sundries from local political fiefs.

    Here’s hoping the affable Mangala will be able to regain the many friends of important countries we lost in the past decade so that the journey towards unity and reconciliation in this country can have the support of all these countries who were rightly disappointed with our mediocre performances until now.

    Kettikaran

  • 11
    4

    The US can help Sri Lanka in avoiding international investigations into the country and denying visas to the Tamil Diaspora and the former terrorist organisation members.

    There are a lot better opportunity for Sri Lankan citizens who are unable to cover the daily costs. The choice is that US willingness to help the country is a greater benefit for everyone in the country. That would be much better than what MR got from China.

    • 6
      3

      The first and the ONLY thing they need do is to implement the FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organisation) Act, and prosecute those loud-mouths of the LTTE who have taken abode in the USA. If they don’t then it’s just talk.

    • 0
      0

      In civilised world, when they Sri Lanka, they mean people live in the country… Well being of 20 million people live in it….

  • 9
    7

    “What Can The US Do To Help Sri Lanka?”

    Answer: Divert their drones in Afghanistan to our neigbour, Yindia. That will keep them busy from interfering in our affairs now that the Chinks have been given the marching orders.

  • 12
    4

    Wow. What a gravid speech. Too much to expect of a batik designer. Sure it was pilfered from GL Pieris’ briefcase before he was chased out.

    • 10
      2

      Nothing in the present 100-day interim circus afflicting this country epitaomises its ridiculousness more than this self-seeking maniac as its foreign minister.

      He is eveready to adopt the so-called western values of human rights and gay rights as our ruling philosophy due to his own personal, vested interests.

      The American plotters will exploit his weaknesses and his viewing all problems through the y rights angle to achieve what they want with our country and the value system.

      The sooner the country gets rid of this maniac from this job would be the better for our future well being.

      He is really ourMangala for the country.

      • 5
        2

        @AR007
        “He is eveready to adopt the so-called western values of human rights and gay rights as our ruling philosophy due to his own personal, vested interests. “

        I may see eye-to-eye with you on our choice of foreign minister as a self-seeking opportunist who is not worthy of this posting. However I totally disagree with you on your comment about his sexual leanings. People like you are dangerous to society. You are no better that the Balu Balu Sena misanthropes. You need to be manacled , cloistered in a high-walled prison and the keys thrown away. Frankly, people like you are sick and need your head to be examined.
        By the way,look into the mirror and ask yourself if the bloke staring back who is so full of antipathy towards ‘western values’ will refuse a FREE hamburger from MacDonalds, if he were offered one. Also, check out if he is wearing a pair of GAP jeans or an Amude to cover his nakedness.

        • 0
          1

          Meezan,

          ” You need to be manacled , cloistered in a high-walled prison and the keys thrown away. Frankly, people like you are sick and need your head to be examined.”

          I can clearly see that you share the dreams of menacling and imprisoning with the gay-lord foreign minister ourMangala. I despise sexual perverts with much more vigour than you would ever detest those who are against sexual perversion.

          As to head examination, bend down and have a look at your own genitals and try to understand its functions as not to enter any hole of excreta. You might just have enough brains to understand ‘cos even animals do.

          I shall show my distaste of the hymie values you represent (as the fifth column in Sri Lanka) if you write under your real identity. But I understand your cowardice.

  • 8
    1

    ” National Press Club, known as the place where news happens ”

    Hmmm, food for thought. Samaraweera has put his time at St Martin’s in London to good use. In addition to learning fashion, he’d learned the art of fawning from Trevor MacDonald.

  • 4
    5

    The US should expedite the UNHRC inquiry and its release.
    The proposed domestic inquiry will be a sham.

  • 2
    5

    The United States has kept its policy regarding Sri Lanka very confidential. We can only look at wording in resolutions at the UN, to try to decipher what’s going on behind the scenes at the Pentagon and in the White House. What is the end game? I’m sure I’m one of many who analyze every word that comes out of the mouths of the Secretary of State and the POTUS regarding Sri Lanka. Well today was an eventful day for us. Mr. Kerry in his public remarks with Mangala had this to say: “… and we’re going to talk today about President Sirisena’s thoughts about how to move Sri Lanka away from 30 years of war with the Tamils to a country that is inclusive and prosperous and peaceful”. This statement sounds innocuous at first, but when examined closely, is actually quite a bombshell. Forget war against terrorism, he is saying that Sri Lanka has been at war for 30 years with the “Tamils”! What’s even more striking is that he is referring to “Sri Lanka” and “Tamils” as two separate entities!! He is clearly referring to “Tamils” as a nation here. Only nations go to war with each other. He is also saying that the state of “Sri Lanka” does not include the “Tamils”. I understand that these were off the cuff remarks, but they do give us some insight into Mr.Kerry’s mindset.

    • 1
      0

      Patriot likes to see things.

    • 1
      1

      Kerry is correct though . Sri Lanka has in fact carried out a 30 year war against the Tamils. What he failed to mention was that the war was genocidal in nature. He also failed to note that the previous 30 years was also part of structural genocide as clearly argued by Justice W.

      However, I don’t think they were off the cuff remarks but were meant to convey a message to the Sri Lankan state.

  • 6
    2

    “I am delighted to be here in Washington” – this is what you sought. To roam the world in 80 days at government expense you self seeker.

    Is he selling the country or forcing it upon them?

    • 5
      2

      Precisely; No sooner was he made minister that he started his ACS Hameed type of plane jaunts which he thinks is the inalienable right of ever Minister, foreign or otherwise. His first port of call was India to have a personal lunch with Sushma Singh who had apparently asked him to ‘hop over’ for a cuddle. Next stop was UK I believe where he was pictured in an unclaspable handshake with Hugo Swire,the UK Foreign Minister who I think asked him to ‘hop over’ for a piddle.
      This is not the end. he will make several more ‘hop overs’ before we see any meaningful work done by him in the realm of foreign affairs. He is one of those politicos who makes good hay when the sun
      shines. And boy! Isnt it shining for him now.

  • 4
    0

    How can the USA help? Help extradite the US citizens to stand trial for war crimes. If convicted, then agree to a plea deal by sacrificing the Goat to fight ISIS in exchange for innocent US lives who have been captured. If need be, we can also outsource Avante Guarde, Rakna Lanka, Nill Balakaya and the entire Charlie company with Gon. Gnanasara to support the GOAT.

  • 2
    0

    I copy my earlier comments for the following article here as well as I feel the comments are relevant in the context of this article too.

    Sri Lanka After the Presidential Election by Mangala Samaraweera
    Yes! It is a good speech!!!! A good speech that can throw dust in the eyes of the observers and listeners to make them believe the unbelievable that Sri Lanka is in the path of reformation. This speech is in no way unconvincing than that of Dayan Jeyatilake when he convinced the United Nations with his speech of “Humanitarian War” and “Zero Civilian casualties” during the last stages of the Tamil civilian massacre. I hope American public will see the truth as it is penetrating all the layers of sophistication and flowery eloquence. The Sinhala ruling elite and the intelligentsia totally understood the consequences of leaving a less than subtle and ‘into your face’ Mahinda & Co in power when the UN Investigatory Report on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity is to be tabled in March. It would have exposed the Sinhala Nation’s true colours to the World’s Humanity. This naked exposure would have been very detrimental to the very intention of the ruling elite of Sri Lanka to make Sri Lanka the “Sinhala Buddhist Nation”. All along the so-called anarchy and mayhem in SriLanka is well under the control of the political elite and the policy makers of SriLanka and the recent election manifestation is them pulling the horse rope before the horse is bolted. They know if they didn’t play this game well Tamil Question will be gauged accurately by the world’s humanity to its rude awakening. This is ‘artful dodger’ at his best. The so called ‘Revolution by Ballots’ is not stunning or a jaw dropping moment. I am horrifyingly mystified by the inability of the Tamil intelligentsia to assess this risk and articulate it to the world community instead of participating in its own destruction by giving a picture that all is well.
    For the first time in the Tamil History the Tamil Nation has thrown its arms in desperation and cried for ‘HELP’ from the international community by passing a recent resolution with the claim of ‘Genocide’ in the Northern Provincial Council. I interpret this as the last gasp from a Nation that is left to face a slow agonising death. In simple terms it is akin to “Battered Woman’s Syndrome’ where the woman is unable to and has no avenues to express her fear for her life in the hands of her husband who can take control over her at any moment at his will and commit a gruesome murder. It is my sincere hope that world’s humanity will hear this feeble voice from a powerless people and act with urgency and responsibility even if it is not in the interest of Tamil Nation but for the wellbeing of humanity in total. As promised the report of the UN independent international investigation should be presented in March without delay and Sinhala Nation should be made to reconcile with itself of the horrifying facts of rape, disappearance and mass murder. Mangala Samaraweera should remember when on boasting about the rainbow revolution, Tamil participation and the inspirational story of power of the ballot, it is also that power of the ballot that enabled to pass the resolution in March 2014 at the UN and SriLanka should bow down to the willl of the world’s nations in similar spirit. He also should not forget the fact that it is the faith in the outcome of this report that made Tamils to go to the voting booths risking their lives so that the ‘Change’ in the mindset can take place for all to benefit. Will the Sinhala Nation ever understand what the Tamil Nation had gone through post-independence and stand-up to its own conscience before claiming moral ship in front of other nations?
    daya thevi

  • 4
    0

    It proves very well that this guy was working on this project for some time.

    I don’t think he has concerns about the country.

    Every thing is his personal mission.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.