Sri Lanka–United States relations

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Sri Lanka – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Sri Lanka and USA

Sri Lanka

United States

Sri Lanka – United States relations are bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.

In a 2005 BBC World Service Poll, 30% of Sri Lankans view American influence positively, with 20% expressing a negative view.[1] According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 14% of Sri Lankans approve of U.S. leadership, with 37% disapproving and 49% uncertain.[2]

History[edit]

President Jayewardene of Sri Lanka presents a baby elephant to President Reagan and the American people in 1984. President Jayawardane was known for his Pro-US policies.

The United States enjoys cordial relations with Sri Lanka that are based, in large part, on shared democratic traditions. U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka is characterized by respect for its independence, sovereignty, and moderate nonaligned foreign policy; support for the country's unity, territorial integrity, and democratic institutions; and encouragement of its social and economic development. The United States is a strong supporter of ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka and the peace process that began in December 2001. In 2004 Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe was invited to the White House by President George W. Bush, this was the 1st time a Sri Lankan prime minister was officially invited to the White House.[3]

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signs the Condolence Book for Lakshman Kadirgamar who was assassinated by the LTTE.

U.S. assistance has totaled more than $2 billion since Sri Lanka's independence in 1948.[4] Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), it has contributed to Sri Lanka's economic growth with projects designed to reduce unemployment, improve housing, develop the Colombo Stock Exchange, modernize the judicial system, and improve competitiveness.[5] At the June 2003 Tokyo Donors' Conference on Sri Lanka, the United States pledged $54 million, including $40.4 million of USAID funding. Following the 2004 tsunami, the United States provided $135 million in relief and reconstruction assistance.[6] In addition, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) operates a radio-transmitting station in Sri Lanka.[4]

Ratnasiri Wickremanayake with President of the United States Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

Under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, relations with the US were strained, but the ties improved after President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came to power in 2015. In May 2015, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Sri Lanka for an official tour. US Counsellor of the State Department Thomas Shannon visited Sri Lanka in December 2015 where the first US-Sri Lanka partnership dialogue to improve Governance, Development Cooperation and People-to-People ties; Economic Cooperation; Security Cooperation and International and Regional Affairs was announced. US offered assistance to help Sri Lanka become an economic and strategic hub in the Indian Ocean region.[7]

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials include:

The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka is located in Colombo, as are U.S. Agency for International Development offices and Public Affairs offices. IBB offices are located near Chilaw, 75 km north of Colombo.

Defence relations[edit]

USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) and Sri Lankan Navy SLNS Sayura and SLNS Samudura ships operate together

The U.S. Armed Forces maintain a limited military-to-military relationship with the Sri Lanka defense establishment.[4] United States and Sri Lanka started to enhance defence relations beyond the sale of military equipment, and training facilities were extended when Sri Lanka was in an internal battle with a secessionist movement Tamil Tigers. During Ranil Wickremesinghe's time as Prime Minister in 2002, agreements were signed with the US which allowed Sri Lanka to get assistance in terms of military training, military technology, intelligence, special training in counter-terrorism, and direct monetary assistance for military development.[9] During the ceasefire period, United States Pacific Command assessment team conducted a study from September 12, 2002 to October 24, 2002, which made several recommendations to strengthen the capabilities of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force in case of the peace process failing. After studying the weakness of the military, the study recommended the use of cluster bombs (which weren't banned until 2010 when Cluster Munitions Convention came into effect) to destroy unarmoured area targets and arming Kafirs and Mi-24 gunships with guided weapons in case of fighting close to enemy forces.[10][11] The US also donated the SLNS Samudura during this time.[9]

It was reported that the US Navy Pacific Command provided intelligence to the Sri Lankan government during the civil war to hunt down LTTE crews and four ships. This was later confirmed by the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa whose government was hostile to the United States.[12][13][14][15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/index.htm (Background Notes).[3]

External links[edit]