External Affairs Minister Professor. G.L. Peiris opened a four-day, official visit to Washington, D.C. with a series of meetings with key U.S. Senate leaders and a talk on Sri Lanka’s post-conflict redevelopment and reconciliation programs, emphasizing that lasting peace, stability and growth in Sri Lanka will be achieved through home-grown solutions, not those prescribed by the international community.
Nearly three years to the day that Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE, Professor Peiris highlighted Sri Lanka’s accomplishments before a large and representative audience at a premiere Washington think-tank, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
In that vein, Professor Peiris noted that Sri Lanka is already adopting recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and that the government recently initiated a process to put the commission’s recommendations to work in “a meaningful way”, after extensive consultation with in the government.
Professor Peiris said that Sri Lanka’s immediate goal after the conflict was the resettlement of those displaced, as well as economic development to provide livelihoods and new infrastructure to the Northern region.
Minister Peiris met with Republican Senator. John McCain, from Arizona and former presidential candidate who is one of the U.S. Senate’s leading experts on terrorism and national security.
The two discussed the defeat of the LTTE, economic stability and reconciliation, there commendations of the LLRC and Sri Lanka’s relationship with both India and China.
In a second Senate meeting with Democratic Senator Jim Webb, of Virginia, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Minister Peiris noted that reconciliation is Sri Lanka's main focus, along with the swift implementation of the LLRC’s recommendations acceptable to the government.
Minister Peiris’ schedule for the week includes more meetings in Congress, with officials of the White House and on Friday, a session with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.