Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
It has been an honour and a privilege today to welcome Ambassador Samantha Power to this historic Republic building.
As all of you know, Ambassador Power is the second member of President Obama’s Cabinet to visit Sri Lanka in the space of a year.
This I believe indicates the level of excellence that relations between our two countries have now reached.
I met Ambassador Power in New York in February for the first time soon after being sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maithripala Sirisena administration. We have come a long way since then in laying the foundation for a strong Sri Lanka-US partnership.
Ambassador Power has been, and continues to be, a good friend of Sri Lanka. Even in the most difficult times, she always maintained faith and trust in the people of this country and in the latent strengths of our nation.
Her presence here with us is a source of encouragement to us as we proceed on the journey we began on the 8th of January to make our country a truly peaceful, reconciled, prosperous, nation which abides by the best democratic traditions; promoting and protecting the human rights of each of our citizens and celebrating the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual nature of our society.
Today, Sri Lanka is taken note of by the world community, not merely in terms of geographic positioning but in terms of the changes that have been ushered in by the people of our country.
In our meeting, we discussed about working together to ensure that the people of our country benefit from these changes and from the peace and democratic dividend; ways of making our partnership stronger, including enhancing bilateral trade and investment.
It is a challenging path that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation. We have a long way to go and this is the first time that the people of Sri Lanka require the assistance of the international community to ensure that are gains are built upon; the dreams of our people are realized, and we define and create our future today by our hopes and aspirations without being held back anymore by the fears and prejudices of the past.
I am grateful to Ambassador Power for undertaking this visit. I look forward to staying engaged with her, and to work closely with her to further enhance US-Sri Lanka relations. I wish Ambassador Power and her team a very pleasant stay in Sri Lanka.
Thank you very much.