The Hon. Milinda Moragoda, Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Reform, Science and Technology, has completed a highly successful visit to the United States that resulted in several U.S. and international officials expressing strong support for providing Sri Lanka with increased international assistance.

“The Minister had a series of meetings with U.S. and international officials in which he consistently heard how much the international community supports the peace process and understands our need for financial support,” said H.E. Devinda R. Subasinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States. “As complicated as the world situation is now with regard to Iraq, it was heartening to see that the world community wants to work together to support Sri Lanka.”

The week began with formal IMF and World Bank presentations at the U.S. government hosted Pre-Tokyo Seminar on Sri Lanka at the U.S. State Department, calling for $1.1 billion in annual aid for the next three years to help the country recover from conflict.

Minister Moragoda met with United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan at the U.N. Headquarters in New York; International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Mr. Horst Köhler; World Bank President James Wolfensohn; U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans; Ambassador Robert Zoellick, U.S. Trade Representative; U.S. Congressman Jerry Weller, a Republican from Illinois who is co-chair of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus; U.S. Congressman Christopher Van Hollen Jr., a Maryland Democrat who lived in Sri Lanka when his father served as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka in the early 1970s; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; U.S. Treasury Under Secretary (International Affairs) John B. Taylor; U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley; Deputy Secretary of Commerce Samuel Bodman; and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control & International Security Affairs John Bolton, Assistant Secretary of State for Political - Military Affairs Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Peter Rodman.

In addition to those meetings, the Minister met Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at a private reception.

“During meetings the Minister was repeatedly assured by these officials that they are pleased with the Government’s commitment to the peace process and the progress that has been made,” Ambassador Subasinghe said. “Statements of support were made with respect to Sri Lanka’s economic reform and economic development efforts and the country’s move to become a regional trade hub in South Asia. There were also strong indications that the United States has a favorable view of expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation with Sri Lanka. Plans were discussed for a special visit of U.S. Congressmen to Sri Lanka sometime this summer.”

“It was clear that there is wide respect for the work the Sri Lankan government is doing to maintain peace and rebuild the nation and also a true recognition that the international community must play a vital role in our recovery process.”

Minister Moragoda attended the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington and played a leadership role in a Seminar on Sri Lanka that was co-hosted by the United States and Sri Lanka as a prelude to June’s Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development in Sri Lanka.

In addition, Minister Moragoda visited the U.S. Coast Guard Yard at Baltimore, Maryland to inspect and tour the Coast Guard Cutter “Courageous,” which is scheduled to be transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy.

Minister Moragoda also had meetings with H.E. Abdullah Hassan Saif, Minister of Finance & National Economy of Bahrain; the Hon. Susan Whelan, Minister of International Cooperation of Canada; Ms. Agnes von Ardenee, Minister of Development Cooperation of The Netherlands; Mr. Jin Liqun, Vice Minister of China; Mr. Mohamed Khir Bash, Minister of State for Finance & Industries of the United Arab Emirates; Mr. Peter Woicke, Executive Vice President, International Finance Corporation (IFC); Ms. Mieko Nishimizu, Vice President, South Asia Region, The World Bank; and Mr. Motomichi Ikawa, Executive Vice President of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

The Sri Lanka delegation consisted of Ambassador Subasinghe; Mr. A S Jayawardena, Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; Mr. Charitha Ratwatte, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation; Mr. R. Paskaralingam, Advisor, Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation; Ambassador Janaka Nakkawita, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Sri Lanka; Mr. Ananda Atukorala, Advisor, Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation; Mr. Jim Robertson, Advisor, Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation; Mr. Saman Udagedara, Minister (Commercial), Embassy of Sri Lanka; and Ms. Siranthani Gopallawa, First Secretary (Economic), Embassy of Sri Lanka.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

18 April 2003

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