April 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Call for a “New Era” of U.S.-Sri Lankan relations

Sri Lanka’s renewal after the defeat of terrorism was praised in the U.S. Congress Thursday, as Sri Lankan-Americans celebrated the Sinhala-Tamil New Year.

“Mr. Speaker, having just ended a decades long conflict in which the government finally defeated terrorist forces within its borders, the Republic of Sri Lanka recently celebrated its second New Year at complete peace,” said Rep. Joe Wilson, (R-S.C.). “In his New Year address, President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated celebrating the New Year is a ‘time when all enjoy the freedom achieved in our Motherland. Therefore, this New Year will help bring a renewal in spirit and new expectations to the people about future progress.’

“I would like to wish a happy new year to the 250,000 Sri Lankan-Americans,” Rep. Wilson continued, “along with the 21 million citizens of Sri Lanka, a dynamic nation of South Asia.”

The Congressional statement came as Sri Lanka prepared to begin its third year of peace following its decades-long and ultimately successful fight against terrorism. It ended with the defeat of the militant terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009. There have been no terrorist incidents since then.

Rep. Wilson called for a “new-era” of relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.

“During this time of national reconciliation, I look forward to a new era of Sri Lankan-American relations built on economic, strategic, and political cooperation between our two democratic societies.”