A United States congressional delegation visiting Sri Lanka to strengthen U.S.-Sri Lanka ties has assured to sustain the U.S. commitment to the economic growth and prosperity in the island nation when they met with the country's leaders.The delegation from House of Representatives Armed Services Committee of U.S. Congress met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Wednesday at the Temple Trees and engaged in a lengthy discussion on US-Sri Lanka partnership.
The Congressional Delegation was led by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and included Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Atul Keshap, Ambassador of the United States to Sri Lanka also accompanied the delegation.
The delegation held discussions with the Sri Lanka Premier pertaining to American assistance that could be extended to Sri Lanka?s development and assured continued assistance for government's development plans. The U.S. Congressional delegation also called on the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the President?s Official Residence, today (30). During this meeting, the President said that Sri Lanka is a country, which will work with cooperative and friendly manner with the international community. He recalled the assistance given by the U.S in training Sri Lankan forces.
Military training programs are being conducted between the U.S. and Sri Lanka routinely, the President said, pointing out the necessity of using more technological knowledge to further promote these programs, and emphasized that there is no defense without the technology in the modern world.President Sirisena said that the cooperation of the United States Security forces is important to control the ways that drugs smuggled into the country and for that the cooperation between countries are also of utmost importance.
The Congress committee members who agreed to provide assistance to prevent drug trafficking in Sri Lanka mentioned that it is their country?s policy to give necessary assistance in order to build Sri Lanka as a strong and prosperous country. The delegates stated that the internal security of Sri Lanka is important for the regional security and the world peace, and mentioned that the expectation of their Sri Lankan tour is to find out the actions required to strengthen the security and cooperation between both countries and the armed forces.
Meeting with the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, the U.S. delegation learned about the current situation in the North and East and progress on reconciliation in Sri Lanka.The delegation also met with the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and senior defense and foreign policy leaders from the government of Sri Lanka.