New US Ambassador opens up to Sri Lanka

  • In her first interview since assuming duties, Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz shares key insights on her plans, US aspirations on Sri Lanka and US perspectives on some of Sri Lanka’s immediate and medium-term challenges 

A career member of the US Senior Foreign Service, the United States’ new Ambassador in Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz describes her job as both “exciting and challenging.” This is because her arrival in Sri Lanka was at a time when the country is at crossroads in terms of democracy and politics, whilst the potential to achieve stability and prosperity is also high. Speaking to the Daily FT in her first ever interview with the local media, Teplitz, who has had extensive experience in Asia, shares key insights to her plans, US aspirations on Sri Lanka, and US perspectives on some of Sri Lanka’s immediate and medium term challenges. As the US and Sri Lanka mark 70 years of diplomatic ties, she strongly believes there are great opportunities to further enhance bilateral political and economic cooperation.US is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market, and has contributed over $ 2 billion in grants for various socio-economic development initiatives. In this frank interview, Teplitz focuses on a wide range of political social and economic issues. Following are excerpts. 

By Nisthar Cassim

The US-Sri Lanka relationship started 70 years ago, and we are looking at the next 70 years. It is the long haul. We are building a new embassy building, with an investment of $ 281 million. These are not investments we make lightly, and my Government believes it is worth it and a demonstration of strong ties and future potential to expand.

Q: When you found out that you had been appointed as the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, what were your initial thoughts?

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