U.S. GOVERNMENT EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN THE
PEACE PROCESS AND ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAMME IN SRI LANKA
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. Governments 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 communitys
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 programmes
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
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 Lankas 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
10 April 2003