US Secretary of State John Kerry addressed a public lecture yesterday at Colombo’s Taj Samudra Hotel. The public lecture was organised by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera made the welcome address.
Excerpts of Mr. Kerry’s speech:
I’m really happy to be here.’Ayubowan’ and ‘Vanakkam’. I am very happy to welcome all of you here. No you are welcoming me. That is mutual welcome. I thank (Foreign Minister) Mangala (Samaraweera) and Sri Lanka now for the very generous welcome you gave me this morning when I first came here and came over to that historic building that is now Foreign Ministry. Thank you for that my friend!……………... READ MORE
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera must be a satisfied man. Within the last 100 days, there has been two significant stand-alone official visits to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Modi of India and US Secretary of State Kerry, achievements which had eluded the previous government.
After the Modi visit, pro-Mahinda political analysts had raised fears that a reference to “cooperative federalism” by the Indian Prime Minister would give impetus to pro-Eelam forces in the country.
Following the Kerry visit, these same analysts will probably try to raise the spectre of an “international conspiracy” that had dogged foreign policymaking under the previous regime. They should be reminded that the US has stood firmly with Sri Lanka in the fight against LTTE terrorism. It was only a few days ago that the former Navy Commander, in a press interview, had acknowledged that it was US-provided intelligence that enabled the Navy to locate and destroy the floating LTTE arsenals, which was a major contribution to the war effort. It is also well known that in the US, law enforcement operations had succeeded in arresting attempts to smuggle arms to the LTTE……………….. READ MORE