United States has offered to continue to expand counter-terrorism and maritime and border security cooperation with Sri Lanka during the third United States–Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue held late last week, a joint statement issued at the end of the dialogue read. The Sri Lankan delegation was also briefed on the ‘Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS’ which is a 79-nation strong coalition led by the US, given the terrorists who struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday appear to have drawn inspiration from ISIS.
At the bi-lateral, the United States team reiterated President Trump’s statement that America stands with Sri Lanka against terrorism and supports Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism efforts following the horrific Easter Sunday terrorist attacks of April 21. During the latest visit to Washington from May 15 – 17, Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana met with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale on Thursday (May 16).
Miniser Marapana expressed Sri Lanka’s gratitude for the support extended in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21, and the continuing support for Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism. The multi-faceted assistance from the US Embassy in Colombo included a team of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
On behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, he also expressed condolences on the death of five US citizens among whom was an official of the US Department of Commerce. Days ago, the US approved a $480 million Millennium Challenge Compact, which would support economic development in Sri Lanka. Signature of the compact is pending Congressional approval in the United States and Cabinet approval in Sri Lanka.
The Partnership Dialogue between the two countries provides regular and structured engagement to review and strengthen bilateral relations. Among other topics discussed were the US–Sri Lanka relationship and future cooperation. The joint statement further read, ‘United States and Sri Lanka resolved to work together to foster peace and security and ensure a safe maritime domain in the Indian and Pacific Oceans through a rules-based order that ensures respect for international laws and norms.’
In this context the delegations have acknowledged that the US strategy towards a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, which ensures freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce was important. Both governments welcomed ongoing bilateral security sector cooperation and discussed the importance of expanding military-to-military cooperation .