U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Thursday, the U.S. Government had great confidence in the Peace Process as well as the Economic Reform Programme in Sri Lanka and re-iterated the U.S. Government’s commitment to continue to support Sri Lanka in both these endeavors. Mr. Armitage made this observation when he met visiting Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Reform, Science and Technology Milinda Moragoda at the State Department on April 10th, 2003.

Minister Moragoda briefed Mr. Armitage on the progress made during the peace talks. They also focused on the ‘Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka’ to be hosted by the Government of Japan, in June this year and the pre-Tokyo session that will be co- chaired by Minister Moragoda and Deputy Secretary Armitage at the State Department on Monday April 14th. The Minister expressed the appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka for the continued support that has been extended to Sri Lanka by the U.S. Government.

Deputy Secretary Armitage said the international community’s attention does not need to be diverted away from the Sri Lanka Peace Process and Reconstruction and Development efforts in the country on account of the conflict in Iraq. He noted that as the U.S. Government embarked on the task of re-building Iraq, the experience of countries like Sri Lanka that had already started making that transition after more than 20 years of prolonged conflict, would be invaluable.

At a meeting with the Managing Director of the IMF Horst Kohler, Minister Moragoda was assured that a proposal to allocate a sum of US $ 560 Million over the next three years under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) would be taken up at its Board Meeting on April 18th . Mr. Kohler said given the progress made in the peace process and economic reform programme, he was hopeful that Sri Lanka would be able to secure the totality of this assistance, which is a rare feat.

At a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Zoellick, the ‘Regaining Sri Lanka’ programme initiated by the Prime Minister was discussed at this meeting. Ambassador Zoellick assured the Minister the support of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in helping Sri Lanka achieve the programme’s goals. They also expressed satisfaction with respect to the progress that had been made since the signing of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between Sri Lanka and the U.S. last year.

The Minister also met Republican Congressman from Illinois, Jerry Weller, at his office at the U.S. Congress. Mr. Weller who assumed Co-Chairmanship of the ‘Sri Lanka Caucus’ in the U.S. Congress recently, expressed his intension of co-leading a Congressional delegation to Sri Lanka shortly in order to observe first hand the important strides Sri Lanka was making in restoring peace and ensuring economic progress and to help further the growing bi-lateral trade and investment relationship between the two countries.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S. Devinda R. Subasinghe was associated with the Minister in all meetings. Governor of the Central Bank A.S.Jayewardene, Secretary, Ministry of Finance Charitha Ratwatte and Alternative Executive Director/ IMF Mr. R.A.Jayatissa were associated in the meeting with the Managing Director of the IMF, while Minister (Commercial) of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington Saman Udagedara was associated in the meetings with the U.S. Trade Representative and Congressman Jerry Weller.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

10 April 2003

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