Sri Lanka has come a long way since voters in 2015 rejected the corruption, strife and repression of the past and threw their support behind a reform, reconciliation and accountability agenda, incoming US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Alaina Teplitz said.
In her testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on June 28 as President Trump’s nominee for US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ms. Teplitz said, however, the pace of progress on reform and justice has been slow in Sri Lanka.
“As anti-Muslim riots in March so painfully demonstrated, the work of mending inter-ethnic and inter-religious fissures remains incomplete,” she said. +he said Sri Lanka and Maldives are important to the wider security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.
“Both nations are positioned astride key shipping lanes that connect the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca, the free navigation of which is vital to US economic and security interests. We must also be mindful of the economic and commercial opportunities each country affords, and the importance of working with them to maintain a rules-based international order,” she said.
Ms.Teplitz, who is the current US Ambassador in Nepal, said the US would continue to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to make good on its commitments to its people to come to terms with its past, implement justice and accountability measures, and secure a peaceful, prosperous future.
“We also support growth of Sri Lanka’s capacity to make greater contributions to regional stability while protecting its own sovereignty and national interests. Sri Lanka’s success in this endeavor will make it a stronger partner to the United States and contribute to our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she said.
If confirmed, Ms. Teplitz said she will work in both Sri Lanka and Maldives to advance US values and a shared vision of good governance, transparent economic development, free navigation and commerce, fair and open investment environments and a stable, rules-based regional order