In recognition of the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment with regard to reforms, the Government of the United States of America has expressed interest in expanding engagements between the two countries including in relation to military relations.
In her first statement following the recent visit to Sri Lanka, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Ambassador Alice Wells stated that foreign assistance would focus on support for security cooperation and enhanced strategic trade controls, whilst contributing to the country’s demining efforts, partnering on aspects pertaining to skilled labour and citizen empowerment, and cooperating on economic development, governance and trade.
Wells acknowledged the need for concrete steps to be taken in order to achieve reform (constitutional – devolution of administrative power to the Provinces, legislative – the replacement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act with counter-terrorism legislation in keeping with international standards of fairness and due process, and in the security sector – the release of lands seized by the military during the conflict), reconciliation, transitional justice (the implementation of the Office on Missing Persons and the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, office for reparations and a credible mechanism to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes) and non-recurrence (of violence and abuse) related objectives.
She stated that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was developing a compact with Sri Lanka and that in June this year, the MCC had approved USD/$ 7.4 million to study potential projects and to conduct due diligence work in the transport and land sectors. The MCC is reportedly working closely with the incumbent coalition Government to bring a compact for board approval by 2018.
“We are working together to fulfill the steps to which our nations agreed in the 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council 30/1 resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, which were reaffirmed in 2017’s resolution numbered 34/L.1,” she further stated.