The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells briefed the press at the US Department of State on 24 January 2020, on her recent trip to Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries.
Ms Wells was to note that Sri Lanka occupies some very important real estate in the Indo-Pacific region, and is a country of increasing strategic importance in the Indian Ocean region.
Ms Wells said that she had productive meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, as well as the foreign minister, representatives of the opposition, as well as leaders of the Tamil National Alliance and civil society. She said that in the meeting with the president, Lisa Curtis and I conveyed a letter from President Trump emphasizing the value that we place on continued engagement with Sri Lanka that’s pursuing the path of reform and reconciliation, and we really welcomed the president’s statement that he wants to be president for all Sri Lankans.
Alice Wells said the United State and Sri Lanka have compelling shared interests that include countering violent extremism, strengthening maritime security, preventing narcotics smuggling, promoting investment and economic growth as part of a free and open Indo-Pacific. (State Dept)