Solid basis to US-Lanka relations
US President George Bush couldn't have been
more eloquent on the great commonalities shared by the US and Sri Lanka,
as on the occasion on which Sri Lanka's newly appointed Ambassador to
the US, Bernard A. B. Goonetilleke presented his Letter of Credence to
the US President.
Both states share a common commitment to democracy, the Rule of Law
and human rights and these principles have solidified the foundation
US-Lanka relations over the years, while heightening the camaraderie and
amity between the countries. However, of late, the common aim of
defeating terrorism have brought the US and Sri Lanka closer together.
The horrendous tragedy of September 11, 2001, brought home to the US
government and the citizenry of the US, the prohibitive costs of terror.
As never before, they realised the agonies Sri Lanka had suffered for
decades at the hands of the perpetrators of political terror. This sense
of empathy the people of the US are having with the Sri Lankan people
has consolidated the fraternal ties the US and Sri Lanka have kept alive
over the decades.
Therefore, the US and Sri Lanka could be said to be fighting a common
enemy and the ready support the US is winning world-wide in this fight
against terror testifies to a widespread global consensus on the need to
Thus, the Sri Lankan State could be said to be receiving
unprecedented moral backing from the US in its efforts to defeat terror.
This is, in fact, moral capital which could stand us in very good stead.
For, terror cannot be condoned and it is relieving to know that Sri
Lanka has the support of the world's mightiest democracy and of its
allies in its long struggle to defeat political terrorism. This
unprecedented global, joining of forces against terror is proving very
effective and we are already having evidence of this fact on even the
local political scene.
However, it is equally important to note that the US President is
also placing great emphasis on the need to resolve our conflict by
political means. "A solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka can
only be achieved through a negotiated settlement", President Bush is on
record as stating.
Accordingly, the Bush administration is opting for a pragmatic
approach in resolving the problem of terror. This rules out the
advisability of persisting with military means as an answer to
terrorism. The final answer to terror is political in nature.
On this score too, the US and Sri Lanka are at one because the Lankan
State is now seeking ways and means of restarting the local peace
process. It is interesting to note also that the US President has called
on all parties to the Lankan conflict to negotiate peace.
The Lankan Government could rest assured, therefore, that the bulk of
world opinion is on its side. The final way to peace is by peaceful