INTERNATIONAL

U.S. to aid Sri Lankan tsunami relief

Sridhar Krishnaswami

WASHINGTON: The United States has said that it is committed to assist the Government of Sri Lanka as it recovers from the deadly tsunami and has said that it is "comfortable with the progress" made by that country as it recovers from the tragedy of last year.

The American sentiments were conveyed during a meeting between the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Mr. Kadirgamar who met media representatives here said that his talks with Dr. Rice were not structured but that much of the conversation had to do with the tsunami, including the plans for the future and the Joint Mechanism in completing the massive task on hand.

The Sri Lankan Minister also had discussions with other senior members of the administration including the Deputy National Security Advisor and the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia.

According to a press release by the embassy of Sri Lanka here Mr. Kadirgamar briefed Dr. Rice on the efforts made to evolve a consensus on the operation of Joint Mechanism for the "specific purpose" of dealing with the immediate humanitarian situation on the ground.

At the moment, Mr. Kadirgamar maintained, the focus is on the tsunami and there is a clear understanding of this situation in the international community.

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