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Sirisena appreciates US role in training Sri Lankan armed forces

Sri Lanka’s president met with a US Congress delegation from the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, where the growing partnership between the two governments in the security sector was discussed.

Congressman Mac Thornberry, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, led the bipartisan delegation. He was joined by Congressman Henry Cueller and Congresswomen Vicky Hartzler and Carol Shea-Porter.

At the meeting, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized that “military training programmes are being conducted between the U.S. and Sri Lanka routinely,” according to his official website.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Atul Keshap, is quoted in an official press release by the American Embassy as saying,

“Across the U.S. government, we see value in expanding our security partnership in ways that benefit the United States and Sri Lanka.”

“Sri Lanka’s progress as a democracy that will protect the rights of all its citizens and promote their prosperity regardless of ethnicity or religion can create opportunities for our growing military-to-military cooperation.” 

“The delegates stated that the internal security of Sri Lanka is important for the regional security and the world peace, and mentioned that the expectation of their Sri Lankan tour is to find out the actions required to strengthen the security and cooperation between both countries and the armed forces,” the official Sri Lankan website added. The Congress committee members reportedly agreed that assistance from the U.S. was necessary to help build Sri Lanka as a “strong and prosperous country.”

The delegation also met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan, State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardena, Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam, Defense Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne, as well as other Members of Parliament.

The visit comes amidst growing military ties between the United States and Sri Lanka.