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US pledges support to combat terrorism

COLOMBO: The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard A. Boucher yesterday affirmed that the US will increase its support to the Sri Lankan government.

US Assistant Secretary Boucher, the official observer to the SAARC Summit told a press conference held at the Hotel Trans Asia that they have discussed with the foreign ministers of the SAARC countries how they can increase cooperation and efforts to fight terrorism.

Congratulating the Government for hosting the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo, Boucher said the summit was held in most practical and productive atmosphere.

The meetings have gone smoothly with the hospitality of Sri Lankan people coming through in all those arrangements and activities.

“We see ourselves as friends of Sri Lanka and we want to make sure that we will be able to make a positive contribution here for the people of Sri Lanka to fight terrorism,” he said.

“We understand that the people in Sri Lanka are afflicted by terrorism. We understand that people need to be able to go out and go back to their homes safely free from fear of bombing on buses or shopping malls, and attacks in the streets.”

Boucher said the US would take steps to hinder supply of arms coming illegally into the terrorist groups.

Our radar systems are working on it, he said and added that United States would take all measures for stopping illegal supplies of weapons to the Tigers.

“US will continue its support Sri Lanka to counter these supplies among other things,” he said.

The Tigers do not seem to have any alternative towards a solution, he pointed out.

Speaking on US funded development projects in Sri Lanka, Boucher said they have been engaged in several poverty alleviation projects and tsunami relief projects in Sri Lanka. They have been successful.

“Especially the Tsunami Relief project. We have projects in the East. We saw recently the opening of the Arugambay bridge and we are still working on nine locations for schools in the South. The tsunami relief pro gramme was very important to us and it has been successfully done by Sri Lanka,” he said.

Boucher said, they have a strong political interest in Sri Lanka. We want to see that the benefits of democracy is extended to all the people in the island.

“We expect to see paramilitaries being disarmed, especially when it comes to child soldiers. Police should be capable of providing safety and security to the people because we are aware about various cases of disappearances, abductions and illegal detentions are interested in the human right situation in Sri Lanka as well,” he said.

He said the US has welcome the move of devolution of power or power sharing as a solution to Sri Lanka’s problem, and they had discussed this with the government.

“We will continue to discuss these issues and will encourage the media to discuss them,” he added.

 

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