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Sri Lanka’s leaders congratulate Biden and Harris, as Colombo ponders US relationship

Sri Lanka’s President, Prime Minister and opposition leader have all welcomed the appointment of Joe Biden and Kamal Harris to the Presidency and Vice Presidency, as Colombo looks to shape its relationship with the United States.

The message from the Rajapaksas came in the early hours of the morning in Sri Lanka. Premadasa was the first to congratulate Biden and Harris, just minutes after results were called.

The recent US election follows the high-profile visit of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to Sri Lanka where he was greeted by Sinhala protests and a refusal by the Prime Minister to meet with him. Pompeo’s visit marked the highest-level US government official of cabinet rank to visit the Sri Lanka John Kerry visit in 2015. Prior to his reception in Sri Lanka, government officials were reported to have said it is “not for outsiders to tell Sri Lankans how to run their country”.

In this past week Sri Lanka’s President, who also stands accused of war crimes, openly attacked the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement, which would have provided a grant of US$480 million dollars, stating that he would not sign it “even in his dreams”. He has maintained that his administration’s policy is to “protect its sovereignty” and that it will not be influenced by other countries, according to a report in the Aruna Newspaper.

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