MINISTER SAMARAWEERA BRIEFS SECRETARY RICE ON DEVELOPMENTS
IN SRI LANKA
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who met
US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice today (Thursday 5 January),
briefed her on developments in Sri Lanka and conveyed to her the
Sri Lanka government’s firm commitment to seek a negotiated
political settlement to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Minister
Samaraweera’s visit is the first to the U.S. by a member
of the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, since its assumption
of office in November 2005.
Minister Samaraweera told Secretary Rice that
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been able to secure the support
of 28 political parties in the recent election and was currently
holding consultations with other opposition political parties
including the UNP, to evolve a southern consensus on solving the
conflict. Since his election a little over 6 weeks ago, President
Rajapaksa had repeatedly invited the LTTE to resume negotiations
with a view to strengthen the implementation of the Ceasefire
Agreement and in arriving at a negotiated political settlement.
Minister Samaraweera, who noted that Sri Lanka
was Asia’s oldest democracy, thanked the US Government for
the pro-active role it had played to support the peace process.
He stressed that the solution the Government of Sri Lanka envisaged
is one that is based on democracy, human rights and pluralism.
Earlier the Minister also held meetings with
Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns and Assistant Secretary
of State for South Asia Christina Rocca, who were also associated
with Dr. Rice at the meeting with the Foreign Minister. Minister
Samaraweera said that he looks forward to meeting Under Secretary
Burns, when he next visits the region.
Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs H.M.G.S.
Palihakkara, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Bernard A.B.
Goonetilleke, Senior Advisor to the President Ambassador Jayantha
Dhanapala, Secretary-General of SCOPP Dr. John Goonaratna, and
the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington
Ambassador Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, were associated with the Foreign
Minister at these meetings.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
05 January 2006