US Congress delegation wants to advance relationship with Sri Lanka

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunewardene with Congressmen Bera and Hold accompanied by Ambassador Teplitz/MFR handout photo

ECONOMYNEXT -A bipartisan delegation from the United States Congress has “articulated the strong desire of the Government of the United States of America to advance the multifaceted relationship with Sri Lanka as an important strategic partner of the USA,” a Ministry of Foreign Relations press release issued Monday said.

The delegation comprising Democrat Ami Bera and Republican George E B Holding met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunewardena during their stay.

Bera is Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Non-Proliferation and Holding is a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Budget Committee and Ethics Committee.

Gunewardena reiterated Sri Lanka’s “strong objections of the Government of Sri Lanka on the recent imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva,” the release said.

He also stressed the importance of continuing defence cooperation and observed the need to overcome such hindrances without causing embarrassment to either party.

The release said that the delegation took note of the concerns and informed that they would convey these sentiments to the US Congress.

Gunewardena highlighted the need to move forward in new areas of cooperation that would boost Sri Lanka’s economy.

The two Representatives of the Congress expressed the willingness of the US side to increase Foreign Direct Investment in both countries the release said.

The Congress Delegation was joined at the discussions by US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz and Embassy officials. Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and Director General/ North America, Dharshana M. Perera, and officials of the Ministry, were associated with the Minister during the talks. (Colombo, February 18, 2020)

-Arjuna Ranawana