May 22, Colombo: The Leader of Sri Lanka's Opposition and the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe Thursday discussed the current political situation in the country with the United States envoy to Colombo.
The discussion between the Opposition Leader and the U.S. Ambassador Michelle Sisson held at the UNP headquarters Thursday focused on the current situation of the country and his party's goals for the future. General Secretary of the UNP Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake was also present at the discussion.
His discussion with the U.S. envoy was held following his recent tour in the United States where he completed a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Without revealing any plans for future elections, the Opposition Leader shared his views on corruption within the government and Sri Lanka's foreign policy with the Ambassador.
He emphasized that the UNP has always stood for a strong Sri Lanka foreign policy based on the people's interests and needs and always resisted internationalizing domestic issues as a means to protecting the national security and sovereignty of the nation.
Wickremasinghe informed the Ambassador Sison of the meetings he had during his stay in the U.S. with the senior officials at the State Department, and White House, and the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In the House of Representatives Wickremasinghe met with the Co-Chairs of the US House Caucus on Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Americans, Rep. Chris Van Hollen ( D-MD) and Rep Robert Aderholt ( R-AL).
He also visited the Buddhist Vihara near Washington DC to participate in the Vesak Observances on the invitations of the Ven. Katugastota Updaratna Nayake Thero.
At the invitation of Senator John McCain ( R-AZ) he also attended The Sedona Forum, an exclusive global foreign policy meeting hosted by Senator McCain and addressed by, among others, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Republican and Democrat Senators, former US military commanders and the CEOs of GE, Walmart, Hewlett Packard, FedEx, Chevron and global US corporations.
Senator McCain visited Sri Lanka in the 1990s at the invitation of then Prime Minister Wickremasinghe and the two have since remained close friends and colleagues. Senator McCain expressed an interest in visiting Sri Lanka again with a Senate delegation.
He discussed current developments in Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean and the UNP's plans to focus public opinion on critical issues facing the people. US officials shared with the Leader of the Opposition their views on the current state of US Sri Lanka relations and concerns about the emerging democratic deficit, rule of law, media freedoms, attacks on places of religious worship and lack of meaningful progress on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations.
The Opposition Leader stated his opposition to an international investigation mechanism and stated that the UNP stood for a domestic accountability and reconciliation process and mechanisms.
The UNP Leader emphasized the need for the Government to implement the assurances given to the international community in order to avoid international pressure on the country. Specifically, the commitments in the 2009 Joint Communique issued after the visit to Sri Lanka by the UN Secretary General and the successful resolution moved by the Government at the HRC in 2009.
Emphasizing that Sri Lanka was a long-standing democracy he emphasized the need to re-establish the independent commissions and the 17th Amendment that would create the environment for domestic accountability and reconciliation.
During his one-month stint at the MIT as a Robert E. Wilhelm fellow from 08 April 2014, Wickremasinghe was engaged in studying how to formulate a constitution sans an executive presidency. He was also working with faculty and students interested in Asian regional issues.