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Central Bank of Sri Lanka hires US lobby firm

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CBSL) has signed a deal with a US-based lobbying firm to promote the country in the US, including to the government, reported the Sunday Times.

The agreement with Liberty International Group LLC, worth $760,000, runs until July 2015 and will look to ensure the US receives “clear and accurate information” about Sri Lanka.

The deal was signed on behalf of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank by Deputy Governor Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, and Liberty International Group President Connie Mack.

According to the contract, obtained by the Sunday Times, the PR agency is required by the CBSL to meet three “statutory stability objectives”, namely creating, “A political environment in the United States of America (US) that is more conducive to enhancing Sri Lanka’s long-term political and economic aspirations; a comprehensive information platform where decision-makers in the US receive clear and accurate information about Sri Lanka’s current achievements and future plans; and a higher volume of private sector investment in Sri Lanka from the US”.

The CBSL said in the contract, the current international media focus on Sri Lanka is “unbalanced”, saying this is “unfair, unwarranted, and overshadows the impressive post-war socio-economic achievements of Sri Lanka and also could undermine the long term US political geo-strategic and economic interests”.

The contract also stated that it was necessary to have a “re-calibration of US policy, based on a wider and fairer information base, leading to multi-dimensional and more balanced engagement with Sri Lanka”.

It further demands of the firm that it “plan and execute immediately an ongoing engagement with the US Congress, US Senate and US Governmental Departments”, calling on it to “reach out to opinion leaders in think tanks and academia in the USA and engage with the broader Sri Lankan Diaspora, by organising interactions and meetings as appropriate.”

Liberty International Group has declared it will “identify US business leaders; Members of the Congress and officials in the Executive Branch; opinion leaders; media outlets; and academics”, adding it may also “plan a series of meetings between Sri Lankan and US business, government and opinion leaders”.

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