Remarks With Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Secretary of State's Outer Office
Washington, DC
February 25, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: I’m very happy to welcome my friend Mangala Samaraweera here, the foreign minister of Sri Lanka. I had wonderful occasion to visit with him in Sri Lanka, and I want to congratulate the Government of Sri Lanka for their very impressive continuing steps towards reconciliation. Their efforts to try to address the regional issues, and most importantly, to make peace in their own country are very, very significant. And we really welcome you here.

We’ve had an ongoing dialogue. This is the eve of a Strategic Dialogue with Sri Lanka, which will be led by our Under Secretary Tom Shannon, and we very much look forward to defining the roadmap ahead for continued progress. So welcome, my friend.

FOREIGN MINISTER SAMARAWEERA: Thank you. I am also extremely happy to be back here at the State Department and also to meet Secretary of State John Kerry exactly one year after – one year and one week, in fact, of visiting you here since the new administration took over last year. In fact, during the last 12 months you were able to come to Sri Lanka, the first visit by a Secretary of State of the United States of America in 43 years. We also had a cabinet-level visit of Samantha Power last May, and of course, many other visits by high-level officials of the State Department.

And this has elevated what has always been a very cordial relationship to what I would call a very special friendship between the United States of America and Sri Lanka. And that is why I’m looking forward for the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue, which I’m sure will go – which will further strengthen and broaden the relationship between our two countries.

Thank you again for inviting me here. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend.