NEWLY-CONFIRMED U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SRI
LANKA PAYS VISIT TO AMBASSADOR JALIYA WICKRAMASURIYA
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya with Patricia Butenis,
the United States newly-confirmed Ambassador-designate to Sri
Sri Lanka Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya Wednesday
welcomed Patricia Butenis, the United States’ newly-confirmed
Ambassador-designate to Sri Lanka, as she prepares to take charge
of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya and Ambassador-designate Butenis spoke
cordially and extensively about the post-conflict situation in
Sri Lanka during a meeting at the Embassy of Sri Lanka. The talks
included a discussion of the condition of the 280,000 people displaced
by the successfully concluded conflict with the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE.
“I go to Colombo as a friend,” Ambassador-designate
Butenis said, and as, “someone who has a reputation for
speaking candidly, though I hope diplomatically."
Wednesday’s meeting was the first meeting
by Ambassador-designate Butenis with a representative of the government
of Sri Lanka. She is scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka on Aug.
The discussion focused on the government’s efforts to reconcile
with the Tamil population in Northern Sri Lanka, where the government
defeated the LTTE in May.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya noted that the United States, “has
been extremely helpful,” with aid for post-conflict development,
and with the prosecution of pro-LTTE groups in the U.S. The U.S.
considers the LTTE a terrorist organization and the U.S. Department
of Treasury shut down several of its front organizations.
The discussions also included a briefing by Ambassador Wickramasuriya
on his efforts to develop stronger ties with the Tamil Sri Lankan
community in the U.S. The Ambassador recently met with Tamil leaders
in Chicago, and similar meetings are planned in other major U.S.
cities in the coming weeks.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya told Ambassador-designate Butenis that
the Tamil community in the U.S. had requested confidential meetings
with him during the conflict, but that now the meetings are public
and that he has witnessed a significant increase in the number
of Tamil Sri Lankans who wish to take part. Ambassador-designate
Butenis called the ambassador’s efforts, “encouraging.”
Ambassador-designate Butenis joined the U.S. Foreign Service in
1980 and previously served as a U.S. diplomat in Iraq, Pakistan,
India, El Salvador and Colombia.
In Sri Lanka, she replaces Ambassador Robert Blake, who was recently
confirmed as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central
Embassy of Sri Lanka
12 August 2009