( Ambassador Samantha Power with TNA leader R. Sampanthan)
Ambassador Samantha Power told Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena that the US looks forward to closer relations with Sri Lanka, as reforms progress and urged Sri Lanka to fulfil the terms of the UNHRC resolution swiftly.
The ambassador “underscored that the United States looks forward, as reforms progress, to an ever-deepening bilateral relationship, to include stronger trade and investment linkages and enhanced military relations”, a State Department press release said.
She also commended Sirisena for Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of the Geneva resolution on justice and reconciliation, and urged the swift and credible fulfilment of its terms. She expressed her strong support for expanding efforts to restore normalcy to former conflict areas, account for missing persons, release political prisoners, and return families to their lands.
“Ambassador Power encouraged President Sirisena to reform Sri Lanka’s security architecture to serve its national security needs without undermining human rights and the rule of law,
“Ambassador Power offered strong support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to deploy more troops in UN peacekeeping operations and reiterated President Obama’s appreciation for Sri Lanka’s significant troop and police commitments, which will strengthen peacekeeping globally.”
Ms Power congratulated the prime minister on reforms initiated so far to “restore the pillars of democracy, release prisoners, resettle displaced persons, create an accountability mechanism for past abuses, and consult broadly across society on next steps in the reconciliation process”.
The ambassador also met with Mr Wickremesinghe and both agreed that key priorities include initiating security sector reform, increasing the number of women in key government positions, and streamlining a group of government structures set up to deal with reconciliation issues.
Ms Power stressed to him also that the United States looks forward, as reforms progress, to closer relations between Sri Lanka and the United States