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Monday, February 09, 2015 - 05.01 GMT

Time for Sri Lanka to return as a respected member of the international community - U.S.


Praising the Sri Lankan people for electing a new government, the United States said it is time for Sri Lanka to return to its rightful place as a respected member of the international community.

The United States Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the Sri Lankans sent a clear signal at the elections that they want a change for a step forward for good governance.

"The people of Sri Lanka - from Jaffna to Galle -sent a clear signal from the ballot box: that they wanted your country to take a step forward, to realize its tremendous potential, and to finally enjoy the fruits of peace," Blinken said.

The Deputy Secretary made these remarks Thursday when he addressed a gathering at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC at a celebration to mark the 67th Anniversary of Sri Lanka's Independence.

The high-ranking U.S. official said this year the whole world is celebrating the Independence Day with Sri Lanka.

"Following January' elections, you have every reason to hold your heads high and take pride in what you have already accomplished in this young year," he said.

"After the most successful election in your country's history, Sri Lankans can stand proud alongside Americans as keepers of the democratic dream," Blinken added.

He noted that less than four weeks into taking office, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is pursuing an ambitious agenda.

"The world took notice when he lifted restrictions on the media; restored independence to government institutions; and committed to respect human rights not just for some Sri Lankans, but for all Sri Lankans," the U.S. official pointed out.

Blinken said it was particularly moving to see members of the Tamil National Alliance join the celebrations in Colombo.
Commenting that President Sirisena's remembrance of all the Sri Lankans who perished in the war and his pledge to never again allow Sri Lanka to be traumatized by the shedding of innocent blood was an important step towards healing Sri Lanka's wounds, the official asked Sri Lankan to not to stop the progress there.

"But my hope is that you will not stop there. In mending the rifts inside Sri Lanka, I hope you will turn outside, to the world, in order to share your story of progress and reconciliation."

Deputy Secretary Blinken assured the U.S. support for Sri Lanka's efforts to expand democratic freedom and political rights; to prevent corruption and investigate financial crimes; and to promote sustainable economic growth.

Speaking of trade relations, the official said Sri Lanka's trade with the United States generates tens of thousands of jobs for Sri Lankans and the U.S. is "eager to see that relationship grow with new trade and investment for the benefit of both of our economies."

"We can all see a future for Sri Lanka brimming with happiness and prosperity. And we can all celebrate hand-in-hand, knowing that the next generation of Sri Lankans will know peace and pride like never before," Deputy Secretary Blinken emphasized.





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Last modified: February 09, 2015.

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