Secretary Clinton Meets With Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs Peiris

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 28, 2010

On May 28, 2010, Secretary Clinton met with Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris. After their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:

"I am delighted to welcome Dr. Peiris here to the State Department. I first met him 15 years ago when I was in Colombo, Sri Lanka. And it is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to discuss Sri Lanka's efforts to rebuild after more than two decades of violence and terrorist activity that have deprived the Sri Lankan people of the progress they deserve. Dr. Peiris is a capable, experienced public servant whose leadership is helping to move Sri Lanka toward renewal and reconciliation and, we hope, to greater peace, prosperity, and security for the future.

"The United States has long been a friend of Sri Lanka. Our countries share a history of democratic institutions, and we have an active USAID program that has invested more than $1.9 billion in Sri Lanka since 1956 and is currently helping to create new opportunities for people who were displaced by the conflict.

"Since the LTTE terrorist group was defeated one year ago, USAID has rebuilt or repaired seven schools and a hospital damaged by the conflict, launched public-private partnerships in northern and eastern Sri Lanka to create the equivalent of 5,000 full-time jobs in former conflict zones, supported work training for young people to spur economic development, and provided extensive aid and assistance to internally displaced people seeking to return home. The United States will continue to provide Sri Lanka with humanitarian and de-mining assistance to help heal the wounds of war and bring lasting peace and prosperity to the country."

Secretary Clinton underscored U.S. support for political and ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The Secretary continued:

"[T]he Sri Lankan Government is committed to re-establishing democracy. I was very pleased by the briefing I received from the minister about the many steps that are being taken to return to democratic order. Sri Lanka will remain a strong, united country by drawing on the strength of all of its citizens, valuing the diversity of its people, and ensuring equal rights for everyone.

"So once again, I want to thank Minister Peiris for our productive discussion today and commend him for his commitment to the reconciliation process. The United States pledges our continued support to Sri Lanka, and wishes the Sri Lankan people and the government success in this very challenging but important work ahead."

Read the Secretary's remarks with Minister Peiris here.

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