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Saturday, February 14, 2015 - 07.25 GMT

US excited about 100-day plan - Secretary Kerry tells Samaraweera


The United States is excited about the 100-day plan that the new government of Sri Lanka has put forward to move the country in a new direction, Secretary of State John Kerry told the visiting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera Thursday.

Minister Samaraweera Thursday met Secretary of State Kerry at the Department of State for an hour-long discussion.

Welcoming the Sri Lankan minister before their close-door meeting Mr. Kerry said it is an "exciting moment" for the U.S. because Sri Lanka on January 8th had an historic election.

"This is an exciting moment for all of us here because Sri Lanka on January 8th had an historic election in which there has been really a vote for change, a vote to move Sri Lanka in a new direction, to open up greater accountability and possibility for the preservation of human rights, for democracy, for fighting corruption and putting together a government that will speak for and to the people," Secretary Kerry said.

The Secretary of State said Minister Samaraweera and he will be discussing Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's thoughts about "how to move Sri Lanka away from 30 years of war with the Tamils to a country that is inclusive and prosperous and peaceful."

Minister Samaraweera said Sri Lanka has embarked on a very ambitious program the 100-day program, which is a program of far-reaching democratic reforms and constitutional amendments.

"We will also be giving pride of place to the reconciliation process because we believe a new Sri Lanka based on the principles of unity in diversity - the diversity of cultures, diversity of ethnic groups, and diversity of religions - will be the cornerstone of the new Sri Lanka we are envisaging.

The Minister reiterated that Sri Lanka hopes to "revive and strengthen the very strong bonds we have had with the United States for several decades, but of course, there have been - the relations have been somewhat strained given the last few years."

"And my job I feel is to ensure that we put back our relations to an irreversible state of excellence in the coming months, and I look forward to working very closely with Secretary of State Kerry and, of course, with the United States of America," Mr. Samaraweera said.

"For us, for the new administration, the United States of America is not a threat but a great opportunity," the Minister remarked.





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Last modified: February 14, 2015.

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