US may consider military-to-military relations with Sri Lanka
September 7, 2017 03:16 pm
In a written submission yesterday (6), Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs of the US Alice Wells stated that the commitment shown by Sri Lanka to its reforms agenda has prompted the US to increase ties with Sri Lanka that may include military-to-military relations.
In her submission Alice Wells commended the Sri Lankan government for prioritizing the reforms agenda and acting in a progressive, democratic manner to help the reconciliation of the nation.
She stated that “The current coalition government’s commitment to a reform agenda has prompted growing interest in expanding engagement with the US including in military-to-military relations”
It was also mentioned that as a result of the actions of the Sri Lankan government in accordance with limits set by congress, modest military-to-military engagements may also advance slowly and incrementally.
Since its historic January 2015 elections ushered in a path to reform and reconciliation, the United States has been partnering with Sri Lanka to make its workers more skilled and its citizens more empowered, while ensuring the government continues its ambitious reform agenda. Alice Wells stated that the US will continue to extend their cooperation in economic development, governance, trade and security.
Wells said the US and Sri Lanka are working together to fulfil steps to which they agreed in a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2015. This was reaffirmed in a further HRC resolution in March 2017.
“These resolutions committed the Sri Lankan government to transitional justice and prevention of the recurrence of the violence and abuses experienced during the nation’s 26-year conflict through constitutional, legislative, and security sector reforms,” she added.
The Assistant Secretary of State further stated that the US will continue to aid Sri Lanka in its effort to become a min-impact-free nation by 2020.
Additionally, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is developing a compact with Sri Lanka after it successfully passed the MCC policy scorecard in 2016. In June, the MCC approved an initial USD 7.4 million to study potential projects and conduct due diligence work in the transport and land sectors. Wells stated that the US will proactively aid Sri Lanka in achieving the potential projects.