Just as the United States is proud to have been among the first nations to recognize an independent Ceylon in 1948, we remain proud to stand with Sri Lanka as a friend and partner today,”Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador Thomas Shannon remarked at the 70th independence day celebrations of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. Ambassador Shannon, the third-highest-ranking official in the State Department, represented the U.S. government as the chief guest at the event.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. celebrated the nation’s 70th Anniversary of Independence at the prestigious United States Institute of Peace.
The event also marked 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Noting the remarkable partnership between the United States and Sri Lanka, Ambassador Shannon said bilateral cooperation remains on an upward trajectory and there is “great potential for our two countries to do much more. To work with partners to promote responsible infrastructure development that benefits Sri Lanka. To work together to enhance the shared objectives of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, the importance of which President Trump, Secretary Tillerson, and our National Security Strategy have all underscored.”
Ambassador Shannon also reminisced on Sri Lankan statesmen of yesteryear and their remarkable contributions to shaping global diplomacy after the Second World War. He recalled how the delegation of Ceylon played a vital role in talks toward reconciliation between Japan and the Allied forces in the postwar treaty negotiations in San Francisco. He said “As the beneficiaries of the long years of stability that followed, we all owe a debt of gratitude to these leaders’ judiciousness and foresight and to what President Reagan later hailed as “heartfelt commitment” to “democratic ideals” and “the principle of freedom for all people.”
Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Sri Lanka Priyanga Wickramasinghe addressing the gathering said that Sri Lankans are very proud of their country’s democratic heritage. She said Sri Lankans have always had faith in the island’s democracy and its democratic institutions. She stressed that this strong confidence in democracy and democratic governance will be the cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s future progress.
Underlining the importance of the U.S.-Sri Lanka relationship Chargé d’affaires Wickramasinghe said the very old friendship between the two countries is now stronger than ever.
Over 500 invitees attended the event including guests from the Washington-based foreign diplomatic corps, senior officials from the U.S. administration as well as many Sri Lankan-Americans.
In the morning of February 4, the Embassy hosted a solemn independence commemoration event with multi-faith observances conducted by religious dignitaries representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian faiths.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
February 8, 2018