U.S. OFFICIALS CONGRATULATE SRI LANKA
ON VICTORY OVER LTTE
A top U.S. Defense Department official congratulated
the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Wednesday on Sri
Lanka’s military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Robert Scher, the Deputy Assistant Secretary
of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, pledged American humanitarian
and reconstruction support to the government of Sri Lanka during
a phone conversation with Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Scher said the U.S.
government was pleased that Sri Lanka had defeated the LTTE terrorists,
and asked Ambassador Wickramasuriya to extend congratulations
to the government and military of Sri Lanka.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Scher was appointed to his position
following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
The Ambassador said assistance in clearing landmines in northern
Sri Lanka was crucial to quickly returning the 250,000 displaced
citizens to their homes. Deputy Assistant Secretary Scher pledged
U.S. support in clearing landmines.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya explained that the
government has an ambitious plan to redevelop Northern Sri Lanka,
where the LTTE was present. The program includes reconciliation
with Tamil civilians, as well as the reconstruction of long-neglected
roads and bridges, railway lines, water and sanitation facilities
and at least 80,000 homes. Local elections are also planned.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Scher expressed concern
for the displaced civilians and promised short-term humanitarian
aid and longer-term development assistance from the U.S. He agreed
that reconciliation with the Tamil civilians affected by the conflict
Deputy Assistant Secretary Scher also told Ambassador
Wickramasuriya that the U.S. government extends condolences to
the families of Sri Lankan military personnel lost during the
25-year-long conflict, as well as to families of civilians who
In Colombo, Sri Lanka, U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake congratulated
President Mahinda Rajapakse on behalf of the U.S. Government when
he called on Sri Lanka President to bid him goodbye on the completion
of his term of office in Sri Lanka. Ambassador Blake also assured
President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the US Government will give every
assistance in advancing the humanitarian welfare of displaced
Embassy of Sri Lanka
20 May 2009