Lankan envoy meets California expats
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya,
met recently with Sri Lankan community members as part of Sri Lanka’s
efforts to unify the Sri Lanka Diaspora in the U.S.Assisted by Jeff
Goonewardena, who was recently appointed as Sri Lanka’s Consul General
to California. The Ambassador had a long discussion with members of the
Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim Sri Lankan community in California.
The meeting between the Ambassador and community members focused on
ways to strengthen relations within the Sri Lankan Tamil communities and
extending their support towards the post-conflict development of Sri
The Ambassador’s California visit continues a series of meetings he
has held with members of the Sri Lankan community throughout the United
States following Sri Lanka’s defeat of the LTTE terrorists in May
2009.Since then, the Sri Lankan government has engaged in a broad
reconciliation effort at home and abroad to bring together all members
of the Sri Lankan community, including Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and
The discussion put particular focus on economic development in Sri
Lanka’s Northern and Eastern provinces, which are majority Tamil areas
and where the heaviest fighting in the 26-year-long conflict took place.
In his remarks, Ambassador Wickramasuriya thanked community members
for their past support and contributions. He also expressed gratitude
for their willingness to assist in Sri Lanka’s current economic
development and for their efforts to build stronger ties within the
“I know from my previous two years here as consul general that you
have a strong, caring community,” the Ambassador told the California
“I am impressed by the number of children and community members who
are involved in work that benefits Sri Lankans back home.”
Ambassador Wickramasuriya also noted how the policies of Sri Lanka’s
President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, have brought peace to the island nation.
The President’s success in ending the conflict, the Ambassador said,
has ensured that all Sri Lankans now enjoy a peaceful, secure existence
for the first time in nearly three decades.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya recalled several recent trips to northern
Sri Lanka, where people living there expressed gratitude for an end to
both the conflict and the constant fear of violence that accompanied the
“If you go to Sri Lanka, you will see this progress - it is in plain
sight,” the Ambassador said. “The roads are being improved.
Construction is happening everywhere. Foreign investors are arriving
and beginning new agricultural and construction projects. It is an
exciting time to be a Sri Lankan.”
According to several Tamil expatriates who visited Sri Lanka recently
shared their views about current situation in Sri Lanka.” It was very
encouraging and peaceful. We were able to travel freely to Northern part
of Sri Lanka.” They confirmed Ambassador’s views.
The Ambassador requested that Tamil community members visit Sri
Lanka, if possible, to experience first-hand the current post-war
progress. He also urged those who do visit to report their findings back
to their friends and relatives in the U.S.
Sri Lankan Tamil community members in California expressed
appreciation for the Ambassador’s willingness to engage in a dialogue
with an open mind, and his desire to support the Sri Lankan Tamils in
Sri Lanka is now engaged in the reconstruction of regions damaged by
nearly 30 years of conflict with the LTTE, as well as economic
development in other regions where the conflict’s end has made growth