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Sunday, 15 August 2010





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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 Lanka.

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 many others.

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 expatriate community.

“I know from my previous two years here as consul general that you have a strong, caring community,” the Ambassador told the California gathering.

“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 LTTE’s presence.

“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 the U.S.

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 promising.


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