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Monday, 13 February 2012

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US Congressional support for SL

* ‘SL guided by democratic ideals and institutions’

* Significant post-conflict progress encouraging

This Congressional letter was initiated by US Congressman Jack Kingston from Georgia, who visited Sri Lanka last October with two other Congressmen. The letter was signed by six republicans and six democrats who are all senior Members of Congress. This very positive letter expresses the strong US Congressional support for Sri Lanka, and it was sent to President Obama last week. The timing is also very good, as important US State Department officials are currently visiting Sri Lanka.

Text of letter:
The President,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Ave,
NW
Washington DC, 20500
Dear Mr President

‘We are writing today in support of a strong United States- Sri Lanka partnership.

‘After three decades of internal strife, Sri Lanka has an opportunity to move forward as a unified nation guided by its democratic ideals and institutions. The United States and Sri Lanka have a proud history of mutual commitment, and we believe that strong American support can have a significant mutual benefit and positive influence on Sri Lanka’s future economic and social prosperity.

‘In post-conflict Sri Lanka, we are encouraged by significant progress in resettling almost all of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and providing family reunification, vocational training and job placement for those Sri Lankans. In addition, we are encouraged by the ongoing negotiations with minority political parties and the strengthening of the democratic process. We welcome Sri Lanka’s willingness to preemptively report on its civil conflict by establishing a politically diverse and independent Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. As Sri Lanka pursues these positive steps, it should know it has a friend in the United States.

‘A strong relationship between the United States and Sri Lanka supports joint economic prosperity in areas of trade, job creation and foreign direct investment. Of particular note, we understand that Sri Lanka has opened dialogues with a number of US companies for the acquisition of heavy equipment, aircraft, energy technologies and other products necessary for its development efforts. In addition, we look forward to opportunities to strengthen our mutual strategic interests in foreign policy and defence by maintaining the peace in the waterways near and along the Indian Ocean and continuing a military training partnership.

‘For the first time in more than a generation, the United States has an opportunity to develop a relationship with a united Sri Lanka. Accordingly, we urge your Administration to take steps to strengthen our ties with Sri Lanka.

Sincerely,
Jack Kingston (R-Georgia)

 

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