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Friday, October 25, 2013 - 05.25 GMT
Demining support was critical to Sri Lanka's rapid resettlement Ambassador Wickremasuriysa


Sri Lanka Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya recently expressed his gratitude to the U.S. based non-profit Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) for its meaningful humanitarian assistance to support clearing landmines in Sri Lanka.

Addressing nearly 300 distinguished guests gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel, Washington DC on October 9th, Ambassador Wickramasuriya underscored that MLI's efforts have played an important role in Sri Lanka's monumental success with the country's post-conflict resettlement and rebuilding activities.

"I am honored to stand before you to commend the Marshall Legacy Institute for the outstanding work they do to save lives all over the world", he opened.

"Their efforts in Sri Lanka have made a tremendous contribution to the post-conflict development in the country, as well as the safety and the well being of the Sri Lankan people", he added.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya was the guest speaker at the MLI's 16th annual Clearing the Path Gala and Awards Dinner. MLI has been the leading donor of Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to Sri Lanka since 2004.

Elaborating on Sri Lanka's swift resurgence after ending three decades of terrorism , Ambassador Wickramasuriya said the country has been able to overcome many daunting challenges with international assistance from true humanitarian organizations during the last four years.

"I am proud to say that there has been not a single loss of life due to terrorism in Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict in 2009", he said.

"Sri Lanka was faced with 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons and approximately 1.2 million land mines preventing resettlement. Sri Lanka successfully resettled almost all IDPs within two years", he added.

Concluding his remarks Ambassador Wickramasuriya thanked the U.S. Department of State , MLI President Perry Baltimore and his team, and all of the individual donors and American schoolchildren who sponsored mine detection dogs for Sri Lanka .

U.S. Senator John McCain and Mrs. Cindy McCain, Senator Mike Enzi and Mrs. Diana Enzi and MLI founder General Gordon Sullivan were also in the distinguished audience with many other high ranking U.S. officials, corporate leaders and prominent philanthropists.

The Embassy of Sri Lanka organized a country pavilion at the event showcasing Sri Lanka's culture, tourist attractions and Ceylon Tea. Sri Lankan born U.S. choreographer Asanga Domask and Serendib Dance Troupe gave a stunning performance featuring three traditional dance acts.

MLI hosts the Clearing the Path Gala annually to honor the individuals whose extraordinary efforts have improved lives in war-torn countries. This year's award winners were: Mrs. Cindy McCain (Humanitarian Service Award), Mansur and MDD Dexter of Azerbaijan (MDD Team of the Year), Congressman Tammy Duckworth (Survivor's Award), and Ashley Parkinson and Tatiana Hoecker (CHAMPs Award).

MLI was established in 1997 to extend the vision of Nobel Peace Laureate George C. Marshall to alleviate suffering and promote hope, growth, and stability in war-ravaged nations. Since then, the organization has been actively helping many countries around the world to remove the scourge of land mines with sustainable and affordable demining initiatives. Since 2004, MLI has donated 26 mine detection dogs to Sri Lanka.





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Last modified: October 25, 2013.

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