US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage has said the United States Government was pleased with the progress that had been made at the recently concluded round of talks between the Sri Lanka Government and the LTTE and has reiterated strong US support for the peace process.

This assurance was given by Mr. Armitage when he met Sri Lanka's Minister for Economic Reform, Science & Technology Milinda Moragoda at the State Department this morning (08th November). Mr. Moragoda is in Washington as part of the ongoing process to keep the US Government briefed on developments concerning the peace process. They discussed the outcome of the second session of the talks which concluded in Bangkok on November 3rd and particularly focused on the meeting to be held in Oslo on November 25th, aimed at mobilizing financial support for immediate humanitarian and rehabilitation action in the North and East. Mr. Armitage said he would be personally leading the US delegation to this meeting and that the US is committed to continuing support for these vital objectives through projects that would yield an immediate impact. He expressed the hope that the negotiating process will lead to a permanent end to the Sri Lankan conflict based on the principles of democracy and respect for human rights, while maintaining the country's territorial integrity. The discussion also focused on the role of the US in providing development assistance for the rest of Sri Lanka. The comprehensive donor conference for this purpose is scheduled to be held in Tokyo early next year. The possible role that the US can play with regard to the Youth Corp and the E-Lanka initiative was also discussed. Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca and James Andrew Bever of USAID were associated at this meeting.

Minister Moragoda also held separate meetings with Assistant Secretary of State Rocca, Jim Moriarty of the National Security Council and Peter Rodman of the Department of Defence.

During his stay in Washington, Minister Moragoda also met with Mr. Shengman Zhang, Managing Director and Acting President of the World Bank. Discussions focused on the forthcoming Oslo meeting. The World Bank expressed satisfaction with the direction of the ongoing peace process and the economic reform program. They also pledged support to the E-Lanka project. He also met the Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Mr. Shigemitsu Sugisaki.

Sri Lanka's Ambassador designate to the US, Devinda Subasinghe and Sri Lanka's Charge d' Affaires a.i. in Washington, J.D.A. Wijewardena were associated with the Minister at these meetings.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

08 November 2002


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