The new US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz stressed the need to resolve the country's political crisis in a transparent and democratic manner, in an interview with the Daily FT.
“We have no dog in this fight. We do not have favourites in this political contest. We are looking at an outcome that respects constitutional processes and transparency and produce a legitimate government," Teplitz said.
Teplitz stressed in her interview that the US was willing to work with any Sri Lankan government that deemed itself to be legitimate to its populous but demanded a swift resolution to restore investors confidence and reaffirm Sri Lanka’s institutions.
The US has also placed a pause on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative due to the crisis meaning an assistance grant of $ 500 million is being placed at risk for Sri Lanka.
“We have paused it as MCC is based on the foundation of respect for the rule of law and good governance. We are waiting to see how the crisis is resolved before we could resume our negotiations and go forward. So there is definitely an impact from the crisis on some of our bilateral opportunities”.
In her interview she stressed a need for a rapid resolution of the political crisis that engulfed Sri Lanka since Mahinda Rajapksa was appointed Prime Minister whilst Ranil Wickramesinghe had already held the position.
Teplitz noted that this crisis has tarnished Sri Lanka’s reputation on the world stage and that it must act now to “restore the political reputation of the nation”.
She notes that not only has the crisis had a corrosive affect on “Sri Lanka’s political and democratic institutions” but it has also had “some damaging economic consequences”.
“I have seen that a number of industry groups including Chambers of Commerce and Industry had come out and said ‘please resolve the political crisis’ as it is harming the business and economy and future opportunities," Teplitz added.
"Even if it is resolved, there is going to be a period required to restore confidence and trust among Sri Lanka’s development partners, existing and potential investors”.
Teplitz took office less than a week after the political crisis and has since met with President Sirisena alongside representatives of all political parties but has not met with either Wickremesinghe or Rajapaksa.