US to remain engaged with Sri Lanka, says envoy

The US will remain engaged with Sri Lanka despite some differences of opinion on the political front, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka said here Wednesday.

Published: 04th July 2012 02:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2012 02:34 PM   |  A+A-

The US will remain engaged with Sri Lanka despite some differences of opinion on the political front, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka said here Wednesday.

In a message released in Colombo to mark America's Independence Day, the US envoy Patricia Butenis noted that the Sri Lankan government has made progress on the resettlement issue and post-war development.

"When I arrived in 2009, the war had just ended and there were literally hundreds of thousands of displaced people that needed to be resettled. Now that's down to just a few thousand. The government has also made great progress with the rehabilitation of ex-combatants. Demining is another significant achievement," Xinhua quoted Butenis as saying.

The Sri Lankan military defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago after 30 years of war and the government has almost completed the resettlement of over 300,000 war-displaced in the north.

Most of rebels who surrendered to the military have also been rehabilitated and released back into society but the most hardcore rebels remain in prison.

Butenis noted, however, that there still remains a lot to be done and her government stands ready to help Sri Lanka to move forward.

The US had in March sponsored a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, a resolution which Sri Lanka had termed as ill-timed and unwarranted.

The resolution had called on the government to implement the recommendations of a local war commission known as the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

"On the political level, we have had to weather some storms. But we've come through, and I am certain of our future cooperation. As a friend, the United states will continue to partner with Sri Lanka as it moves from a post-conflict nation to one truly at peace with others and with itself," Butenis said.

She also said that her government will continue with the development programmes with the public and private sector in Sri Lanka while helping especially the communities most affected by the conflict.

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