U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue to begin in February

Updated - March 24, 2016 10:05 am IST

Published - December 16, 2015 03:23 am IST - COLOMBO:

The inaugural meeting of the United States-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue will take place in Washington in February 2016.

Announcing this after meeting Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at his office on Monday, the U.S. Under Secretary of State (designate) Thomas Shannon told reporters that the annual meeting would provide an opportunity to discuss all aspects of the relationship and ways in which "the U.S. may be able to engage directly" with the people and government of Sri Lanka.

He also assured Mr Samaraweera of his government’s assistance for reconciliation efforts.

The institution of the Dialogue was announced in May during the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to Colombo.

Mr. Samaraweera said the key areas of the Dialogue would include governance, development cooperation and people-to-people ties.

Mr. Shanon was the fifth senior official of the American government to visit Sri Lanka since Maithripala Sirisena became President in January.

Apart from Mr Kerry, the others were Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal who came twice - first in February and along with another Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski in August - and U.S.’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power in November.

Referring to the visits, Mr Samaraweera said this had been "what can be termed a 'milestone year."

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