( Tom Malinowski addressing a media briefing in Colombo)
The United States will standby Sri Lanka and support the new government to continue its forward looking agenda for the progress, a top U.S. official said today.
Tuesday, after a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski said the U.S. has seen steady progress towards the forward looking agenda of this government.
Since his visits earlier this year and Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit in May to Sri Lanka, the progress witnessed by the U.S. has been heartening to all the people around the world, Malinowski said, adding that the most recent example is the recent election, another promise made that was kept.
The U.S. official said the message sent by the Sri Lankans twice this year that they support change is the most important.
“What is most important to us is the message that the people of Sri Lanka have sent. Twice now this year the people of Sri Lanka – North, South, East, and West – have told us that they support change.”
“Twice now they have voted — North, South, East, and West — for the rule of law. Against impunity, for reconciliation, for building this country, developing this country for everyone, and against the politics of ethnic and religious division. Against extremism on both sides,” Malinowski said.
He said the people of Sri Lanka have set an important challenge for their government and for the international community.
“They have told us that the promise of this transition now needs to be fulfilled, and what we hear from the government is a recognition that the work, the hard work, must continue to meet their expectations,” the Assistant Secretary noted.
He said the U.S. recognizes that some of the choices people had are going to be difficult and the process will take time. “Nobody expects miracles,” he added.
However, the official noted that they see an extraordinary opportunity for the government so long as forward momentum is sustained and the US has an extraordinary responsibility to support the process so long as the government of Sri Lanka keeps making courageous decisions.
“The United States will stand by its side and provide the support that is needed to keep this process going forward until Sri Lanka succeeds in every respect in terms of security, economic development, democracy, and playing its rightful role as a respected leader on the world stage,” Assistant Secretary said.
Assistant Secretary Malinowski was accompanied by the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, U.S. Ambassador to Colombo Atul Keshap, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Resettlement Minister D, Swaminathan, and Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe.
Audio of the press conference
The story unfolding in Sri Lanka is a testament to the world – US Asst.Secy Biswal
The United States today (25) reaffirmed their strong support for Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan people for their commitment towards institutions of good governance, peace and prosperity.
“We are at this momentous occasion to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for Sri Lankan people and for the commitment of the government and the people towards this path of democracy of good governance, combating corruption, promoting reconciliation, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal said at a special press briefing held in Colombo today.
“We are incredibly proud of the journey that is being undertaken here, the story that unfolding in this great country is one that stands as a testament to the rest of the world”, Biswal emphasised.
She said that she was here last May during the historic visit of Secretary Kerry and since then they have seen not only commitment to democracy but also just a tremendous momentum of progress towards institutions of good governance, combating corruption and promoting reconciliation.
Biswal further stated that they recently told President Maithripala Sirisena about their plans to support resettlement and education in Sampur with a commitment of one million US dollars in resources. She said that they look forward to work with President Sirisena , the Prime Minister and with the new government to ensure that the country is able to realize its enormous potential.
Also, Nisha Biswal is scheduled to hold talks with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.
Democracy, Human Rights and the US State Department, Assistant Secretary of Labor Affairs Tom Malinowski, External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap also were present on this occasion.