“I cannot think of a country in the world today where there has been this much change
in this short a period of time.” – Ambassador Samantha Power, Colombo, November 23rd
United States Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Samantha Power visited Sri Lanka from November 21st to 23rd. Ambassador Samantha Power is the second cabinet level visitor from the US Administration to travel to Sri Lanka this year, following Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit in May.
During her stay in the country Ambassador Power had a wide range of meetings with the Sri Lankan government, civil society and youth. She called on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera and Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan. She travelled to Jaffna where she met with Governor H.M.G.S. Pallihakara and Chief Minister C. Wigneswaran and also visited Osmania College, a prominent institution for Jaffna’s Muslim Community, the Jaffna Library, as well as the Uthayan Newspaper Headquarters. Her public discussion with Sri Lankan youth served as a platform for candid and dynamic interaction on a range of current issues.
In his remarks to the media following the bilateral meeting with Ambassador Power, Foreign Minister Samaraweera noted “Ambassador Power has been, and continues to be, a good friend of Sri Lanka. Even in the most difficult times, she always maintained faith and trust in the people of this country and in the latent strengths of our nation. Her presence here with us is a source of encouragement to us as we proceed on the journey we began on the 8th of January to make our country a truly peaceful, reconciled, prosperous, nation which abides by the best democratic traditions; promoting and protecting the human rights of each of our citizens and celebrating the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual nature of our society. Today, Sri Lanka is taken note of by the world community, not merely in terms of geographic positioning but in terms of the changes that have been ushered in by the people of our country.
Observing that “a lot of difficult things that are happening around the world”, Ambassador Power said “it’s a very difficult time for a lot of communities and Sri Lanka really stands out as a place and a people who have given the world great hope. It’s a country that dealt with terrorism itself and now is dealing with the very difficult legacies of a long and very arduous civil conflict. But it’s putting one foot in front of the other, facing hard problems, and again showing no signs of moving away from confronting difficult issues of the past in order to help contribute to that brighter future.”
Ambassador Power reiterated United States’ commitment to deepening the bilateral partnership, including through stronger trade and investment ties and military cooperation, and by standing as a partner for Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan people as they move forward on the democratic path they chose for themselves on January 8th.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
24th November 2015