Sri Lanka not in a debt trap though China helped develop infrastructure; President

by Zulfick Farzan 28-10-2020 | 6:35 PM

Colombo (News 1st);  President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he is not ready to compromise the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the nation in maintaining foreign relations whatever the circumstances may be.

(Video of the meeting attached below)

The foreign policy of Sri Lanka is based on neutrality, stressed the President.

According to the President's Media Division, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated the United States is ready to continuously engage with Sri Lanka in its striving to achieve economic development goals.

The US expects to further develop already existing strong bilateral relations between the two countries, the State Secretary said.

Mike Pompeo said the United States wishes to see the Indian Ocean remains a zone of peace and expressed satisfaction over the existing friendly ties between Sri Lanka and India.

Sri Lanka also hopes to see peace in the Indian Ocean, said the President, according to the PMD.

Relations between Sri Lanka and other nations are determined by several conditions, said the President adding historic and cultural relations, development cooperation are some of the priorities.

Noting China assisted in the development of the country’s infrastructure since the end of the separatist war, the President had reiterated Sri Lanka not caught in a debt trap, as a result, reported the President's Media Division.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen the defence cooperation already established between Sri Lanka and the United States and these include training opportunities and material assistance from the United States to security forces personnel in Sri Lanka.

When emphasizing the need to strengthen the coastal guard services to combat drug trafficking, the State Secretary said that the US could assist in this endeavor, reported the PMD.

Expressing the desire of the United State to continue to work closely with Sri Lanka in achieving a high level of economic development the State Secretary said priority will be given to promote US investments in the Island.

In response, the President said Sri Lanka does not wish to obtain loans continuously but to achieve a high level of economic growth by attracting more foreign investments.

The President had pointed out, Sri Lanka is a country that possesses the necessary factors to achieve high agricultural development adding the country's agriculture sector should be modernized and expects assistance towards it.

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz,

Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao, 

Chief Assistant Deputy Secretary at Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Dean Thompson, 

Senior Advisor to the State Secretary Mary Kissel were the other members of the US delegation.