Voting in Jan general elections in SL was for 'change': John Kerry

Washington, Feb 13:  Appreciating the voting in 2015 general elections in Sri Lanka that uprooted Mahinda Rajapaksa government in January, US Secretary of State John Kerry said this time the people in the island nation voted for a "change" to move the country in new direction.

The January general elections that brought a new government to power replacing former President Rajapaksa with Maithripala Sirsena, was a vote to move Sri Lanka in a new direction, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said yesterday.

Polls in SL was for a change: Kerry

"This is an exciting moment for all of us here because Sri Lanka on January 8th had an historic election in which there has been really a vote for change, a vote to move Sri Lanka in a new direction, to open up greater accountability and possibility for the preservation of human rights, for democracy, for fighting corruption and putting together a government that will speak for and to the people," Kerry said.

Welcoming the new Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera at Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Kerry said the United States is particularly excited about the 100-day plan that the new government has put forward.

"We wish them well in the days ahead, and we're going to talk today about President Sirisena's thoughts about how to move Sri Lanka away from 30 years of war with the Tamils to a country that is inclusive and prosperous and peaceful," he said.

Kerry on SL: We wish them well in the days ahead

On his maiden visit to the US as the top Sri Lankan diplomat, Samaraweera said Sri Lanka is going through a democratic revival. "We have embarked on a very ambitious program, the 100-day program, which is a program of far-reaching democratic reforms and constitutional amendments," he said.

"We will also be giving pride of place to the reconciliation process because we believe a new Sri Lanka based on the principles of unity in diversity – the diversity of cultures, diversity of ethnic groups, and diversity of religions – will be the cornerstone of the new Sri Lanka we are envisaging," the Minister said.

Samaraweera hoped to revive and strengthen the very strong bonds between the two countries, as he acknowledged that the relationship have been somewhat strained in the last few years.

"And my job I feel is to ensure that we put back our relations to a irreversible state of excellence in the coming months," he said.


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