SL crisis an opportunity for change

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Sri Lanka is in a moment of challenge and crisis but has an opportunity to create a more democratic and inclusive Government, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday (4).

Blinken made the remarks in Cambodia, at the start of a meeting with Justice Minister Ali Sabry, who said Sri Lanka appreciates the US role in securing support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The two were meeting on the sidelines of a regional gathering in Cambodia.

“We hope and will certainly support Sri Lanka in these efforts – there’s an opportunity in this moment to create a more inclusive, representative, democratic, responsive government and to use this crisis to seize that opportunity to make something very positive out of a very difficult situation. It would stand Sri Lanka in very, very good stead.

“We’re also very supportive of Sri Lanka and the IMF working out an arrangement that also requires appropriate debt restructuring that has to be done on an equitable basis with all of the creditors doing what’s necessary to support Sri Lanka at this time,” Blinken said.

The Justice Minister said, “We understand the challenges, and in this challenge we also understand there are opportunities. And, one good thing about the whole thing is the Sri Lankans have been united in all this and largely, they have been peaceful, there are no incidents.  Basically, the something like a revolution had taken place, but it had taken place very peacefully. So that’s the good part of it.

“We see that there is a huge obligation on our part to put the country back on track and get its economy out of the woods, which we are going through right now, and we look forward to work with the American administration throughout. And, we are very thankful for all the support. In the recent past we have seen a very high-level delegation visiting Sri Lanka and then we have had several roundtable discussions and we have had a lot of support for our IMF approach from the US Treasury and State Department and from the Government in general.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, discussed the implications of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and Sri Lanka’s economic and political situation. “We discussed the ever-strengthening India-US relationship and the global situation,” Blinken tweeted.

Also, China cancelled Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Cambodia scheduled for yesterday (4) over the G7 statement on Taiwan. Wang also will not be meeting Antony Blinken, international reports said.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan