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John Kerry invited to Sri Lanka

2014 Aug 13

The government has invited US Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Sri Lanka and see for himself what the country has achieved on the ground since the war ended in 2009, External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris said yesterday.

He is reported to have extended the invitation during talks he had with Mr. Kerry on the sidelines of the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum at Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar on August 11. Mr. Kerry headed the US delegation to the Forum.

“I invited him to visit Sri Lanka and see what we have accomplished on the ground during the past five years after the war was over,” Prof. Peiris told Daily Mirror.

Sri Lanka-US relations have soured, particularly in the political arena in recent times. The US was the prime mover of the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for an international investigation into the allegations of human rights violations and accountability issues during the last stages of the war.

The Government rejected this resolution and even called it intrusive and an affront to the sovereignty of the country.

In addition to the informal interaction with Mr. Kerry, the Minister held ‘bilateral talks’ with his counterparts from China, India, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines.

During his talks with Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, the Minister said the focus was on the proposed Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, China’s new silk route concept and bilateral cooperation.  

Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop has outlined new steps for cooperation with Sri Lanka in the fields such as trade and security while talks with the New Zealand Foreign Minister focused on developing Sri Lanka’s dairy industry. (Kelum Bandara

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