Pompeo Travels to Sri Lanka to Advance Indo-Pacific Ties

WASHINGTON, DC (STL.News) The US Department of State released the following statement:

“Our relationship is based on common democratic values, and the United States steadfastly supports Sri Lanka’s vibrant democracy and its sovereignty.”

– U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, February 3, 2020

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka, October 27-28, 2020, where he will meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.  The Secretary will highlight Sri Lanka’s importance as an Indo-Pacific partner on security and economic issues.  He will also emphasize our commitment to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and encourage progress on governance and reconciliation priorities.

THE UNITED STATES AND SRI LANKA: A KEY PARTNERSHIP IN THE INDO-PACIFIC REGION

  • The United States and Sri Lanka partnership is based on shared values of respect for democratic governance, rule of law, human rights, including religious freedom, and agreement on the need for an open and resilient Indo-Pacific region where all countries can prosper under a rules-based international order.
  • Sri Lanka’s leaders have outlined their vision for the country’s regional engagement that reflects its location at the nexus of the Indo-Pacific and seizes the opportunities that this unique position presents.
  • We welcome Sri Lanka’s commitment to reconciliation.  Timely efforts in support of these commitments can help to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.

A HISTORY OF TRANSPARENT ASSISTANCE

  • From Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948 up through the present, the United States has provided development assistance, security cooperation, educational exchanges, and mutually beneficial trade and investment.
  • Our assistance to Sri Lanka comes in the form of grants, not loans, and helps to promote Sri Lanka’s autonomy and attract high-quality, commercially viable, and sustainable projects and private-sector investment.
  • The State Department is providing $1.8 million of new counterterrorism assistance programs to help Sri Lankans bring the surviving perpetrators of the 2019 Easter bombing to justice, deter terrorist travel, and support counterterrorism financing prosecutions.
  • The United States has provided more than $26 million in health assistance to Sri Lanka over the last 20 years.
  • The United States has provided $6 million to Sri Lanka in COVID-19 assistance.
  • In September, the U.S. Agency for International Development donated 200 new ventilators to Sri Lanka.
  • The United States has provided more than $74 million to rid Sri Lanka of post-conflict explosive contamination and landmine hazards.
  • We continue to support Sri Lanka’s economic and democratic development through foreign assistance and direct partnership with organizations throughout the country.  Since Sri Lanka’s independence, we have supported the country with more than $2 billion in assistance.

STRONG COOPERATION ON INDO-PACIFIC SECURITY

  • S.-Sri Lanka security cooperation encompasses a variety of joint exercises and training that has developed the skills and interoperability of both countries.  This cooperation addresses our mutual security interests, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response and maritime domain awareness.
  • Through the Temporary Cargo Transfer Initiative, the United States contracts Sri Lankan services and goods to support American vessels that often transit the Indo-Pacific’s busy sea lanes.
  • In August 2018, we donated a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Sri Lanka Navy.  The SLNS Gajabahu, the largest vessel in Sri Lanka’s fleet, has increased the Sri Lankan Navy’s ability to patrol its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
  • In spring 2020, SLNS Gajabahuand SLNS Samudura, another ship donated by the U.S., were involved in the interdiction of caches of heroin and crystal methamphetamine totaling $33 million.

LONGSTANDING TRADE TIES

  • The United States is Sri Lanka’s single largest export market and Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner.
  • In 2019, Sri Lanka exported more than $2.7 billion of goods to the United States, of which over $1.8 billion of which were ready-made garments.
  • The United States also views Sri Lanka as an important customer for American-made goods.  The U.S. exports goods into many sectors of the Sri Lankan economy, from advanced machinery to agricultural products.  Both the United States and Sri Lankan governments are working to expand American exports and investment into Sri Lanka.
  • The U.S. Government is proud to assist American companies conducting business with Sri Lanka.  We will continue to promote policies and practices in Sri Lanka that create fair and transparent economic conditions for all.

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