Excessive pressure being exerted on Sri Lanka by repeated resolutions in the Human Rights Council in Geneva are counterproductive because of their polarizing effect, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said. The Minister was speaking at a meeting with the Board of Directors of the Asia Foundation at the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday.
"Sri Lanka's relations with the United States are multi-faceted, and there is good co-operation in a variety of fields including defence, higher education and public investment in several sectors," he said.
He urged greater sensitivity and understanding, and the desirability of approaches founded more on partnership and respect consistent with the country's dignity than on coercive elements which inject needless strain into a long established relationship.
"There is also, he said, considerable interest on the part of American companies in expanding their commercial operations in Sri Lanka, taking advantage of the conditions of peace and stability now prevailing in the island. Sri Lanka values her relationship with the United States and has consistently engaged in a candid dialogue on current issues.
The Minister said that he attaches importance in his dialogue with American community leaders because people to people contact is an integral part of the bilateral relationship, and community leaders have every opportunity of playing a relevant and useful role at this time.
Members of the Board who have distinguished themselves in business, politics, academia, diplomacy and other walks of life in the United States, are currently on a visit to Sri Lanka to survey projects which are being supported by the Asia Foundation and to attend some events marking the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of the Foundation.
Among those visiting the country are David D. Arnold, President of the Foundation, Ambassador Michael H. Armacost, former U.S. Ambassador and Under Secretary of State and Distinguished Fellow of Stanford University, Ambassador Theodore L. Eliot, former U.S. Ambassador and Executive Secretary of the State Department and Dean Emeritus of the Fletcher School, Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Dr. Seok-Hyun Hong, Chairman and CEO of JoonAng Media Network, Mr. S. Timothy Kochis, former Chairman and CEO of Aspiriant, Ms. Masako H. Shinn, Partner of Graphis Asia, Paul S. Slawson, business leader and Mrs. Judith Wilbur, Civic Leader.