Mangala’s U.S. talks “successful”

Basic CMYKThe Government says the just concluded visit to the United States by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, was successful.

Samaraweera was in the US to brief US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon on the efforts being taken by the new Government to address human rights concerns.

The Minister also sought to mend ties with the US, which had been strained after the former Government refused to work with the US on the human rights issue.

The External Affairs Ministry said that the visit by Samaraweera, which was his first to the US capital since assuming office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs followed the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to Colombo earlier this month and coincided with the completion of 30 days in office of the new Government in Sri Lanka.

During the two day visit, the Minister held a range of meetings including with Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, co-chairs of the Sri Lanka Caucus in the US Congress, Chris Van Hollen and Robert Aderholt, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce and Ranking Member of the Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel.

Inviting Secretary Kerry to visit Sri Lanka at an appropriate time, Minister Samaraweera stressed that he looks forward to working closely with the Secretary of State and other important partners in the United States to enhance relations between the two countries to a state of excellence.

Addressing a full house at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think-tank in the US, after warm welcome remarks by its newly appointed President, the former US Deputy Secretary of State Ambassador William J. Burns, the Minister spoke at length on the post-Presidential election developments in the country including steps being taken for reconciliation, strengthening democracy and good governance and also set out foreign policy objectives of the Government.

Speaking on Sri Lanka-US Relations at the National Press Club, the Minister observed that shared values and commitment to democratic ideals gives much scope for the two countries to work together and that the Sri Lanka