|THE REPLY BY U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE
W. BUSH, TO THE REMARKS OF THE NEWLY APPOINTED AMBASSADOR OF THE
DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA DEVINDA SUBASINGHE UPON
THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF HIS LETTER OF CREDENCE
I am pleased to accept your letter of Credence from President
Kumaratunga, which establishes you as Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
Lanka, and I acknowledge the Letter of Recall of your predecessor.
Thank you for your greetings on behalf of your President.
The United States has been following the peace process in your
country with great interest. We are living in trying times, but
Sri Lanka stands out as an island of optimism in this troubled
world. Sadly, both of our countries have experienced terrorism
first-hand. The United States appreciates Sri Lanka's encouraging
stance on the war against terror and its supportive posture in
the current crisis on Iraq. America will continue to count on
your support in the days ahead.
We both know it takes courage and determination to fight a war.
As the peace process in Sri Lanka reaches a stage where difficult
issues have to be addressed and real compromises have to be made,
it becomes clear that it takes no less courage and no less determination
to pursue peace. Let me assure you that the United States wholeheartedly
supports Sri Lanka's efforts to transform violence and bloodshed
Your country faces difficult challenges ahead. Reconstruction
and reintegration after 20 years of civil war will not be accomplished
easily or without cost. Sri Lanka has a history of democracy and
a resiliency in its economy that will lend strength to your endeavors.
In addition, Sri Lanka has the good will of the international
community. The United States is increasing its economic assistance
in support of the peace process, and is encouraging other nations
to do the same.
Sri Lanka has enormous economic potential, which has been impeded
by war. Now, with peace on the horizon, with b old economic reforms
being put in place, and with a literate society and an educated
workforce, Sri Lanka stands on the threshold of prosperity.
I welcome you to Washington as Sri Lanka's Ambassador, and I
am confident your tenure in Washington will be marked by increasing
ties between our two countries in trade and commerce as well as
in human and cultural exchanges. Let me assure you the United
States will support Sri Lanka as a friend.