Senior U.S. State Department official visits Sri Lanka

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July 03, Colombo: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Evan Feigenbaum visited Sri Lanka June 30 and July 1 as part of the U.S. governmentA?A?A?s regular, ongoing consultations with the Sri Lankan Government, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo announced.

He participated with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the ceremony to open the Arugam Bay Bridge on July 1.

An Embassy statement said during his visit, Feigenbaum also met with senior Government of Sri Lanka officials, including Acting Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Foreign Employment and Defense Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, Secretary of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona. He also met with representatives of Sri LankaA?A?A?s leading political parties.

Highlighting that the United States and Sri Lanka have long been partners, Feigenbaum said his meetings helped to further the ongoing dialogue between the two countries.

A?A?A?We continue to have strong concerns about human rights and pressures on the media,A?A?A? Feigenbaum said.

He noted, however, the formation of a ministerial committee to address concerns raised by journalists over their safety and independence. He commended the Government for its role in the release by the TMVP of nearly forty former child soldiers and stressed the importance of releasing all remaining underage combatants.

Reiterating his governmentA?A?A?s support Feigenbaum said the United States will continue to assist in Sri LankaA?A?A?s development, including in the East.


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