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Lanka, US high level dialogue underway

2014 Oct 07

The Sri Lankan Government says high level dialogue has now begun with the United States (US) and one such meeting was the recent meeting held between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The External Affairs Ministry however said the Government of Sri Lanka did not issue a press statement or comment on the meeting which took place between the President and Kerry on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

“Any reference in the media to the contents of this discussion are of a speculative nature and does not in any way reflect the view of the Government of Sri Lanka. In fact, reference to this meeting has been published in the schedule of State Secretary Kerry, which is in the public domain,” the External Affairs Ministry said.

The External Affairs Ministry said the Government of Sri Lanka however, appreciates this meeting having taken place, as a dialogue has now begun at high level, which befits the importance attached to this bilateral relationship and for its further strengthening.

Last week the US denied reports it has softened its stand on Sri Lanka with US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki insisting that there has not been a change of US policy on Sri Lanka.

Psaki said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had met President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the recent visit to the US by the President for the UN General Assembly.

Asked, during the daily press briefing at the US State Department if, at that meeting, the US had softened its stance on Sri Lanka as was reported in a local newspaper, Psaki said “absolutely not”.

“I saw the same story. The only thing that was right was that the Secretary did speak with the Sri Lankan president on the margins of the UN General Assembly. He did so with the express purpose of conveying that U.S. policy with regard to Sri Lanka has not changed and it certainly has not softened. We would, of course, like our relationship with Sri Lanka to achieve its full potential, but that will only happen if Sri Lanka builds enduring peace and prosperity for all of its diverse ethnic and religious communities,” she said.

Psaki said that the Secretary, in no uncertain terms, made clear to the President that Sri Lanka needed to take meaningful steps to act like a country that is no longer at war and instead is now building a future that includes all of its citizens

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