Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, has emphasised the important role played by diaspora communities in promoting their home countries, and has appealed to the Sri Lankan expatriate community living in the U.S., to promote Sri Lanka’s interests in Washington, as well in important states in the U.S. with even greater vigour.

The Minister made these observations during interactions with various Greater Washington based Sri Lankan groups during his three day visit to Washington.

Officials of the Sri Lanka associations and community groups invited for the meeting included the Sri Lanka Association of Washington D.C.(SLAWDC) Ranga Kala Kavaya (RKK), Friends of Sri Lanka in the U.S. (FOSUS), Coalition of Sri Lankans in America (COSLA), Sri Lanka Medical Association of North America (SLMANA), Sri Lanka Young Professionals Association (SLYPA), Serendipity Group, Sri Lanka Catholic Association, the Sri Lankan University Students Organisations and representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious groups.

The Minister briefed them on the current thinking of the government with respect to seeking a negotiated political settlement to the conflict and the challenges faced by Sri Lanka due to terrorism. He said that during his meetings with Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, U.S. administration, congressional leaders, as well as opinion makers he had sought to apprise them of developments in Sri Lanka, and the U.S. being a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka he sought its support. The Minister said, while appreciating the action taken by the U.S. to proscribe the LTTE, he had drawn attention of the administration to the fact that the LTTE continues to operate in the U.S. through various front organisations and sought U.S. action against such organisations.

He thanked the participants for the support extended to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington in carrying out its activities. Noting that the Sri Lanka expatriate community was regarded as an important instrument in projecting of Sri Lanka’s interests, the Minister appealed to them to continue their good work both in Washington as well as in important states in the U.S. with even greater vigour.

The Minister also visited the Washington Buddhist Vihara and the International Buddhist Center in Wheaton and participated in a special Pooja which were also attended by members of the community.

The Ven. Katugastota Vidura conducted the religious observances at the Washington Buddhist Vihara.

Ven. Katugastota Uparathana conducted religious observances at the International Buddhist Center in Wheaton, Maryland. Ven. Ethalvatuna wewe Ghanatilleke, Chief incumbent of the Mirisavetiye Viharaya of Sri Lanka, who is on a visit to Washington at present delivered the anusasana.

The Minister offered atapirikara at both viharas.

Associated with Minister Bogollagama at these meetings were Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in the US, Bernard Goonetilleke, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, Director General/ Public Communications of the Foreign Ministry, Ravinatha Aryasinha and Media Advisor to the Foreign Minister Lalith de Silva.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

19 March 2007

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