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Lankan, US envoys discuss post conflict situation

[DailyMirror, Friday, 14 August 2009 07:04 No Comment]

yjsjfn55e3bemk55e40r0g55_GetAttachment Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Patricia Butenis, the United States’ newly-confirmed Ambassador designate to Sri Lanka had discussions on the post-conflict situation in Sri Lanka including the condition of the 280,000 people displaced by conflict, the Sri Lankan Embassy in the US said in a statement.

“I go to Colombo as a friend and as someone who has a reputation for speaking candidly, though I hope diplomatically,” Ambassador-designate Butenis said during the talks at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the US.

The meeting on Wednesday was the first meeting by Ambassador designate Butenis with a representative of the government of Sri Lanka. She is scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka on Aug. 28.

The discussion focused on the government’s efforts to reconcile with the Tamil population in Northern Sri Lanka, where the government defeated the LTTE in May.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya noted that the United States, “has been extremely helpful,” with aid for post-conflict development, and with the prosecution of pro-LTTE groups in the U.S. The U.S. considers the LTTE a terrorist organization and the U.S. Department of Treasury shut down several of its front organizations.

The discussions also included a briefing by Ambassador Wickramasuriya on his efforts to develop stronger ties with the Tamil Sri Lankan community in the U.S. The ambassador recently met with Tamil leaders in Chicago, and similar meetings are planned in other major U.S. cities in the coming weeks.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya told Ambassador-designate Butenis that the Tamil community in the U.S. had requested confidential meetings with him during the conflict, but that now the meetings are public and that he has witnessed a significant increase in the number of Tamil Sri Lankans who wish to take part.

[Full Coverage]

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