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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Meets US Congressional Leaders in Washington

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 16, March (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, on the first day of his official visit to Washington, on March 14, visited Capitol Hill and met with Congressional Representatives focused on South Asia, to brief them on the current situation in Sri Lanka and to express his appreciation of continued US support to Sri Lanka, says a press release from the Sri Lanka embassy here.Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama meeting with Congresswoman Ileana Ros - Lehtinen, Ranking Member. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama meeting with Congresswoman Ileana Ros - Lehtinen, Ranking Member.

Among the Representatives the Minister met were the Co-Chairs of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus, Congressman Frank Pallone and Congressman Jerry Weller, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Middle East and South Asia, Congressman Gary Ackerman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the media note further states.

The primary focus of the Minister’s message was to inform the Representatives that the government’s peace initiative was on track to seek a broad-based political consensus in the south in favor of political proposals that would lead to a sustainable peace.

The Minister indicated that the political proposals would be on the table shortly. At one stage, when asked what is different in Sri Lanka’s situation today when compared to three years ago, the Minister said that three years ago, the country was not heading in any clear direction, but today, with the political consensus initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the dynamics have changed, enabling the country to pitch itself to a delivery mechanism for a sustainable peace.

Minister Bogollagama, during his discussions, appreciated the strong bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and the US and spoke warmly of the steadfast commitment of the US to help Sri Lanka fight terrorism. However, he pointed out that Sri Lanka needs more help from the international community to suppress the LTTE raising funds through its front organizations such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO).Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama meeting with Congressman Gary Ackeman, Chairman of the US House of Representative Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama meeting with Congressman Gary Ackeman, Chairman of the US House of Representative

He said that although the US banned the LTTE in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, it is still operating in the US through its front organizations, collecting substantial funds for procuring weapons. With massive sums of money collected though extortion, narcotics and commercial activity, the LTTE has no incentive to negotiate for peace. The Minister explained that until such time that the international community pressurizes the LTTE to understand that violence will not be tolerated; there will be no prospect for a sustained peace in Sri Lanka.

Also present at the discussions were Sri Lanka Ambassador in the US, Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke and Director General Public Communications of the Foreign Ministry, Ravinatha Aryasinha.

The Minister is scheduled to address the members of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus.

Foreign Minister with Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus Co-Chair, Congressman Frank PalloneForeign Minister with Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus Co-Chair, Congressman Frank Pallone

Asian Tribune

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