Rocca: "Ending conflict is the key to prosperity in Sri Lanka"

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 May 2004, 15:43 GMT]
" Peace, prosperity- and, of course, stability are married to each other, here in Sri Lanka no less than elsewhere," said Ms Christina Rocca, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, said Friday in a press release.

The full text of her statement follows: -

" It has been precisely one year since my most recent visit to this beautiful and fascinating country. I am grateful to every one who has received me including President Kumaratunge, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, and opposition leader Mr.Wickremasinghe- for their warm welcome.

"The year since my last visit has been a momentous one for this island. Although there have been no direct peace negotiations for over a year, the second anniversary of the ceasefire signed in February 2002 passed peacefully and the peace process itself continues to move forward. Sri Lankans conducted parliamentary elections in April, and I congratulate them in doing so in a free and fair manner.

"Three weeks ago, speaking at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, I said, " ending conflict is the key to prosperity in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka," I noted," could be on the path to rapid development and economic growth if leaders of the new government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rededicate themselves to a successful peace process." Peace, prosperity- and, of course, stability are married to each other, here in Sri Lanka no less than elsewhere.

"That is why I have returned; to assure Sri Lankan both in and out of power, that the United States and Sri Lanka have enduring bonds of friendship. The Unites States Government and the Government of Sri Lanka share the goals of peace and prosperity. Our hope is to work together towards those goals. And as peace replaces war, the broad and dynamic relationship between us can deepen in many areas, including trade and other commercial activities; and academic, cultural, and professional exchanges. All of this becomes increasingly possible as your peace process goes forward.

"The beauty of this island, its fascinating and diverse culture, and the graciousness of its people have lured me back to Sri Lanka. Once again, thank you for the warm reception that I have received."


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