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Peace Ambassador

For the first time in more than 25 years, an Ambassador from Sri Lanka can lobby Washington to support peace and reconstruction, instead of a war against terrorists.

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya, who has been here for less than a year, spent most of the past several months searching for allies on Capitol Hill to counter fierce criticism from some human rights groups.

However, when the Sri Lankan Army claimed a final victory over the LTTE, Wickramasuriya has become a peace envoy.

"Actually" he told editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Wednesday, "as ambassador, I was always promoting peace, not war."

Wickramasuriya is now looking for help in the government's goals of rehabilitation of former rebels, who are expected to receive amnesty, also reconstruction of the countryside destroyed by war and rigged with rebel land mines and reconciliation between the Tamil and Sinhalese populations.

The ambassador believes Congress and the Obama administration will support those goals and help fund peace programs, although Sri Lanka has not yet asked for a specific amount of aid.

"I think it's going to be very easy to do my job now," he said.

Washington Times

 

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