Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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US and Sri Lanka discuss economic assistance, human rights.

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The United States and Sri Lanka had discussions focusing on economic assistance and human rights.

The discussion took place between US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in New York.

“Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA_SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Victoria Nuland tweeted.

Sabry said that they had a cordial discussion Victoria Nuland and focused on a number of areas where Sri Lanka and the US could work together to further strengthen bilateral relations.

The US, a significant ally of previous administrations under President Ranil Wickremesinghe when he was the premier of this country , played a silent yet crucial role in facilitating a smooth power transition in Sri Lanka during the period of public unrest.

While urging the Sri Lankan administration to prioritize human rights and democracy, the US focused on supporting economic recovery by providing substantial economic and humanitarian aid amounting to nearly US$ 240 million within a short period.

Additionally, the US backed Sri Lanka’s appeal to obtain an IMF bailout package, demonstrating its ability to support countries like Sri Lanka and fill the power vacuum resulting from China’s strategic drift away from the country, economic experts said.

It can be argued that in exchange for the US’s financial support, Wickremesinghe’s regime agreed to create a favorable strategic environment for the US in the future.

Overall, the Wickremesinghe regime swiftly demonstrated its willingness to offer strategic benefits to all Indo-Pacific powers by promoting Sri Lanka’s hedging foreign policy.

In other words, any power capable of providing relief to overcome economic difficulties could gain uninterrupted access to strategic resources, ports, land, and other resources, thereby influencing or balancing the power dynamics among Indo-Pacific actors, several foreign affairs analysts claimed.

For example, China could create strategic concerns for India and the United States by utilizing its strategic resources in Sri Lanka, particularly those from the Port of Hambantota or Colombo Port City.

Similarly, India or the United States, or both, could pursue similar strategies against China by leveraging their access to Sri Lanka’s western and eastern ports, namely the Colombo West Terminal and the Port of Trincomalee they added.

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