Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States, Mahinda Samarasinghe, conducted an online meeting with Ambassador Michael Kozak, Senior Official for the Office of Global Criminal Justice, US Department of State on Thursday, 16 December. Ambassador Samarasinghe briefed Kovak and his team on the current efforts in Sri Lanka aimed at promoting human rights and reconciliation. The engagement, which also involved high-level officials of the Office of Global Criminal Justice, was frank, cordial and potentially could be useful in structuring and supporting current and future Sri Lanka – United States cooperation in key areas of governance through technical assistance, information sharing, capacity building within the overall ambit of the peace and reconciliation efforts of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Government.
Ambassador Samarasinghe stressed the importance of a nationally driven and owned reconciliation effort through strengthening Sri Lankan action to establish an institutional framework that would sustain and drive forward these local initiatives. The Ambassadors adverted to several experiences of other countries that undertook truth, transitional justice and reconciliation initiatives of their own and agreed that Sri Lanka would benefit from a closer study of other examples of recent efforts in these spheres.
Possible ways forward were also explored aimed at informing and engaging the US Government through discussion of critical issues across several agencies and at different levels of the US Government. Ambassador Samarasinghe expressed the expectation that ongoing dialogue on these issues and cooperation would only lead to mutually desired outcomes. He stated that he look forward to closer engagement in future.
Associated with Ambassador Kozak were senior officials Ms. Jennifer Glaudemans, Senior Advisor, Office of Global Criminal Justice; Mr. Ari Bassin, Senior Advisor, Office of Global Criminal Justice and Ms. Charlotte Volpe, Acting Sri Lanka Desk Officer, US Department of State. Diplomatic staff of the Sri Lankan Embassy were also present on the occasion.