Minister Fernandopulle to meet with United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick during the visit Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, will visit Washington D.C. from June 19-22, 2004. While in Washington DC, the Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs will meet with the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Zoellick and Senior Officials of the Department of Commerce and the Department of State to discuss bilateral trade, economic and business cooperation. The visit of Minister Fernandopulle is part of an ongoing process of high level consultations on trade and investment issues. The US has emerged as Sri Lanka’s largest export market and trading partner with bilateral trade totaling US$ 2.5 billion. The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between Sri Lanka and the US and the Joint Council established within it, is the cornerstone in bilateral economic relations and, is a mechanism to broaden and deepen trade and investment relations with the US. The Hon. Fernandopulle will present to the United States Trade Representative the economic policies of the Government and reiterate its desire to continue with the trade policy dialogue spanning a wide range of bilateral trade and investment issues and a shared interest in and cooperation at the WTO on the Doha Development Agenda. Minister Fernandopulle will also discuss the Government’s intention to re-engage in efforts for US consideration of initiating a US-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) process. In meetings with Senior Officials of the US Department of Commerce, Minister Fernandopulle will discuss ways and means to expand the prevailing two-way trade and business relations. At the US Department of State, the Minister will discuss Sri Lanka’s response to the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) as a country among the first 16 countries eligible for MCA assistance in the FY 2004, among other issues. Minister Fernandopulle is scheduled to meet with members of the US-Sri Lanka Working Group established at the United States Chamber of Commerce to engage them in the current trade and investment opportunities in the country. The Minister’s other meetings include those with Co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Americans of the 108th Congress and members of the US business community. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 18 June 2004
US$50 million fund for investments in high growth sectors to target investments in South Asia including Sri Lanka Ambassador Subasinghe says the OPIC Asia investment funds will stimulate growth in the region and the real beneficiaries of these investments will prove to be the entrepreneurs in South Asia The Board of Directors of OPIC recently approved a total of US$ 90 million in investment guarantees for the establishment of two private equity investment funds to support growth of businesses in Asia. The combined target capitalization of the two funds is between US$250 million and US$300 million. OPIC’s investment funds program seeks to inject equity capital into emerging markets and thereby seek to lay the foundation for subsequent investment. This process is seen to help modernize business practices in developing countries with good governance as a concomitant of this process enabling markets to grow further. OPIC will provide an investment guaranty up to US$ 50 million. This fund will pursue expansion, management buy –outs/buy-ins, and private investments in public equities, privatizations, consolidations and infrastructure investments. It will especially target investments in high growth sectors such as pharmaceutical products, health care, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail, oil and gas and financial services. The capitalization target of the fund is between US$150 million and US$200 million. The fund will seek investments in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in South Asia. OPIC has selected as fund manager Actis Capital LLP, a fund management company focused on managing capital primarily in Africa and South Asia. OPIC President and CEO Dr. Peter Watson said, “this fund will help support the establishment of a financial infrastructure for long –term debt markets in Asia, by creating market mechanisms that will have a positive impact on both industrial and financial sectors. Many of the fund eligible countries are making regulatory changes to facilitate the establishment of this infrastructure, but need private sector participation to stimulate the market.” Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States says, “the OPIC Asia investment funds will stimulate growth in the region and the real beneficiaries of these investments will prove to be the entrepreneurs in South Asia. In Sri Lanka, this fund could be utilized in the health care, manufacturing, financial services and infrastructure development sectors. ” Ambassador Subasinghe further stated that the Mission initiated action in 2003 to have the Government of Sri Lanka fulfill all legal requirements for entry into force of the Investment Incentive Agreement (of OPIC) between the Government of Sri Lanka and the US Government signed in October 1993 in Washington DC. Following this the Agreement entered into force on August 8, 2003. This Mission is in the process of working with OPIC to define a program for Sri Lanka as OPIC had evinced an interest to play an active role in the country following OPIC’s participation in the second Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Joint Council meeting in March 2003 and the Pre-Tokyo Sri Lanka Seminar in April 2003. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 09 June 2004
“Graduation” of the First Six-Pack of Humanitarian De-Mining Dogs to be held in Sri Lanka Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe and Mrs. Helga Wurzer-Subasinghe held a “Send Off” reception at the Embassy of Sri Lanka to a distinguished group of donors to the K-9 Humanitarian De-mining Program on the eve of their departure to Sri Lanka. The donors comprising members from the Marshall Legacy Institute, Department of State, Sri Lankan Association of Washington DC, US Corporate sector, and well-wishers were involved in raising $ 420,000 to acquire, train, and deploy a “six-pack” of Mine Detecting Dogs to Sri Lanka. Ambassador Subasinghe in conversation with (L to R) Ms Julie Katzman, Hon Anthony Lake – former National Security Advisor to President Clinton, Mrs Diana Enzi - who heads the CHAMPS Program and Mrs Helga Wurzer-Subasinghe The German Shepherds and the Belgian Malinois were acquired from the world renowned Global Training Academy in Somerset, Texas. The dogs and two US handlers arrived in Sri Lanka in March this year and were accommodated at the Sri Lanka Army School of Military Engineering at Embilipitiya. The formal training of handlers, Army Engineers, began on the 8th of March and the first ever “Graduation” is scheduled to be held on 10th June at Embilipitiya. Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army, Major General Shantha Kottegoda will be the Chief Guest. The Sri Lanka Chief of Defence Staff/Commander of the Army will host the delegation on June 8th at an informal reception. The visitors will also meet with US Embassy officials in Colombo, officials of the Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and the Chairman and staff of National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA). Ambassador Subasinghe welcomed the delegation to the Embassy and thanked them all for their commitment and unstinted support for a humanitarian cause that will further the ongoing Peace Process in Sri Lanka by clearing mines to open schools and health centres. This private donor initiative follows a two-time deployment of the US Government’s Rapid Deployment De-mining Force. He stated that an excellent itinerary has been prepared in conjunction with the Sri Lankan Army with “Military precision”. He thanked the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army Lt Gen Lionel Balagalle for his support and facilitating all arrangements in Sri Lanka. Honorable Anthony Lake, former National Security Advisor to President Clinton thanked the Ambassador for his cooperation and stated that the whole delegation is excited and looking forward to visiting the most beautiful country in the world. The delegation will arrive in Colombo on 8th June and will be accompanied by Brigadier Rohan Jayasinghe, Defence, Military, Naval and Air Attaché at the Embassy. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 01 June 2004
Joint Press Statement 01 June 2004 In a world of competing crises, Sri Lanka donor Co-chairs came together today and urged in the strongest possible terms a rapid resumption of the peace negotiations so that Sri Lanka can benefit from the generosity of the international community. They noted that, with so many other demands on donors, donor attention and funding might go elsewhere unless the peace process makes progress. The Co-chairs of the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka (the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway) met in Brussels to further discuss their support for the Peace Process following the April 2 elections in Sri Lanka. They welcomed the recent commitments made by the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to resume Peace Talks. The Co-chairs looked forward to collaborating with the new United People’s Freedom Alliance government and welcomed President Kumaratunga’s initiative to start the process for the resumption of the Peace Talks by calling on Norway to continue its role as facilitator. The Co-chairs commended the LTTE for reciprocating the request to Norway and expressing their commitment to resume the Peace Talks. They urged all political parties in Sri Lanka to support these talks. The Co-chairs also repeated their continued full support to Norway’s challenging task as facilitator. The Co-chairs were pleased to note that, by and large, the ceasefire has been upheld for more than two years with the assistance of the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. But the Co-chairs registered rising concern with the number of killings in the East recently. They condemned all such killings and called on both parties to do their utmost to continue to respect and implement the Ceasefire Agreement as the basis for the Peace Process. Co-chairs welcomed the recent co-operation between the Government and LTTE in the eastern Batticaloa district, with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, to improve the overall security situation. The Co-chairs are encouraged by the LTTE’s release of child soldiers and the continued commitment to work with UNICEF. The Co-chairs expressed their deep concern about reports of re-recruitments and urged the LTTE to refrain from any further underage recruitment and to release all remaining underage soldiers. In collaboration with UNICEF, donors should consider providing funds for shelters for those released children who have no homes to return to. The Co-chairs emphasised the importance of preserving the gains made in the earlier rounds of Talks and called on the parties in the peace process to bear in mind the principles of the Tokyo Declaration. The Co-chairs noted again that a peace settlement can only be sustained if it respects the legitimate rights and involvement of all ethnic groups, preserves the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and is based on the principles of democracy and human rights. The Co-chairs encouraged the parties to agree on the modalities to invite a Muslim delegation to the Peace Talks at an appropriate time for the deliberations on relevant substantive political issues. The Co-chairs also noted that success will depend on the willingness of the parties to show political courage and flexibility in discussions towards a peaceful solution. The Peace Process and the development process are mutually reinforcing and interlinked, as agreed in the Tokyo Conference last year. As such, the Co-chairs stressed that there should be no drift and no delay in resuming and taking forward the peace process. The Co-chairs called on donors to stand ready to accelerate implementation of their Tokyo pledges once properly prepared peace talks have resumed and noted that development assistance would inevitably increase as the negotiations made progress. The Co-chairs recognised that such assistance should be extended to the whole of the country, taking the poorest and the most conflict ridden areas into particular account. It will of course be necessary to continue providing humanitarian assistance wherever it is required. The Co-chairs also urged the Government of Sri Lanka to adopt and implement sound macro economic and development policies as well as other necessary reforms. In addition, and until effective administrative structures are in place in the North and East, the Co-chairs encouraged the parties to agree on the establishment of effective delivery mechanisms for donor-financed development activities in the North and East. The European Commission Directorate General for External Relations Brussels 1 June
Dean Einhorn of SAIS thanks Ambassador Subasinghe for being one of the architects of the SAIS-SAARC Ambassadors’ Forum Forum to provide an opportunity for discussion of SAARC issues Ambassador Subasinghe says convening of the SAARC Ambassadors’ Forum is timely and the forum will engage in a useful dialogue to inform U.S. policy and enhance academic research interest on South Asia The inaugural session of the SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University) -SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Ambassadors’ Forum was convened on May 21, 2004 at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. The inaugural session involved a panel discussion entitled, “National Perspectives on SAARC and Regional Economic Integration.” The panelists comprised Jessica Einhorn, Dean of SAIS, Ambassador Denvinda R. Subasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Rakesh Sood, Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of India, Mr. Rudra Nepal, Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of Nepal, Mr. Syed Hasan Ahmad, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Bangladesh, Mr. Kinga Singye, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the UN and Mr. Ashraf Hayat, Minister (Trade) of the Embassy of Pakistan. The session was attended by a representative gathering of policy makers, academics, graduate students, journalists and diplomats. The SAIS-SAARC Ambassadors’ Forum is a unique and timely development in the US Capital given the enhanced US focus on South Asia. Diplomatic representatives of the seven SAARC countries who participated as panelists discussed their respective viewpoints on the objectives of SAARC and the impact of recent developments stemming from the January 2004 SAARC Summit in Islamabad in which regional economic cooperation was the focus. Jessica Einhorn, Dean of SAIS in her opening remarks thanked Ambassador Subasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States and SAIS graduate, for his initiative to collaborate with Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in launching this forum on SAARC and for mobilizing the support of his SAARC counterparts. Dean Einhorn highlighted that the Forum would provide an opportunity for discussion of important contemporary issues that are salient to SAARC, and that it will provide a platform and intellectual arena for SAARC Ambassadors to share their views and gain visibility in Washington. Mentioning that the Forum would be driven more by contemporary themes than by events, Dean Einhorn said, “building on the most recent set of SAARC principles in Islamabad and the positive developments that emerged, this is an opportune time to give Washington a closer look at the SAARC organization and the prospects for cooperation among the South Asian States.” Ambassador Subasinghe recalling his days at SAIS as a graduate student said that the SAIS-SAARC Ambassadors’ Forum is indicative of the heightened US interest and focus on policy towards South Asia. Focusing on the advantages of this forum he said, “the forum will enable us to engage in a useful dialogue to inform US policy makers as well as to enhance academic research interest in the region.” Presenting Sri Lanka’s perspective, Ambassador Subasinghe said that Sri Lanka is an active member of the SAARC, continuously seeking to add momentum to the realization of the Association’s key objectives. Describing the country’s underlying rationale for regional economic cooperation Ambassador Subasinghe highlighted that over 70 per cent of the country’s GDP is generated by trade and therefore access to regional markets and the global market is critical for economic growth and poverty alleviation. Sri Lanka’s trade policy is predicated upon developing Sri Lanka into a regional trading, trans-shipment, air and financial hub. Sri Lanka being the pioneer in free market economic reforms in the South Asian region, offering the most liberal business environment in the region since 1977, the country seeks to enhance her opportunities through bilateral, regional, sub-regional, and multilateral partnerships. It is precisely for this reason that Sri Lanka is a member of regional and sub-regional associations such as the SAARC, the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC) and the Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and has embarked on bilateral trading partnerships with India and the US. These include the successful Free Trade Agreement concluded with India, the scope of which will be further enhanced with the completion of the Indo-Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Ambassador Subasinghe in his concluding remarks said, “ SAARC has discovered the potential of collective effort to not only face common challenges but also to deploy that collective capability to realize economic dividends for its people.” Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 21 May 2004
U.S. will continue to fully support the Government of Sri Lanka in its endeavours to usher in Peace and Development Meets U.S. Officials on Defense, Trade and Investment Matters Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar who visited Washington DC from 9th -13th May 2004, received firm assurances from Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice, that the U.S. Government fully supports the new Government of Sri Lanka in its endeavors to usher in peace and development in the country. U.S. - Sri Lanka Bilateral Discussions at the Department of State Minister Kadirgamar, during his meeting with the Secretary of State, apprised Secretary Powell of the policies of the new Government and reiterated its desire to achieve a secure, just and lasting peace for the benefit of all communities of Sri Lanka. The Minister thanked the United States for the principled stand it had taken over the years in support of Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and for playing a positive role with regard to the Sri Lanka peace process. Among the other matters discussed was the inclusion of Sri Lanka among the 16 countries eligible to receive funds from the U.S. Government under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). It was noted that Sri Lanka’s successful economic reforms and recently concluded free and fair election, was an example to countries that have not been able to reach such standards, which were a pre-requisite to being eligible for MCA funds. The Minister noted with appreciation the scope provided in this scheme for programmes that would help uplift the rural economy. In a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Minister Kadirgamar focused on aspects of US support for the Sri Lanka Peace Process. Mr. Armitage, who is a Co-Chair of the Sri Lanka Donor Conference, said he would be attending the meeting to be held in Brussels in early June. Briefing the media at the conclusion of his meetings at the State Department, Minister Kadirgamar noted that the US Government welcomed the Sri Lanka Government say “let’s finish it now, it is time for Sri Lanka to enjoy the benefits of peace.” Mr. Armitage reiterated to the media that in order for the LTTE to be removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in the US, the LTTE would have to “change their behavior, not just in words, but in deed. And that is not going to happen on an afternoon,” and “ make it clear to the LTTE, in addition to the fact that if they negotiate well, they can have a meaningful part of the life of an integrous Sri Lanka, but they are going to have to give up terrorism forever as an instrument, in order to have a relationship with the United States”. Meeting with the National Security Advisor at the White House Meeting the National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice at the White House, Minister Kadirgamar apprised her of the developments since the election of the new Government and as to how the Government intended to carry forward the peace process. They discussed the status of the ongoing ceasefire agreement and prospects for the resumption of peace talks. Dr. Rice congratulated the new Government for the electoral victory in an election that was free and fair and, relatively free of violence. Besides his key meetings at the State Department and the White House, Minister Kadirgamar also had a series of meetings with senior US Administration officials, to discuss aspects of bilateral cooperation in areas of defense, trade and investment. Meeting at the Department of Defense At the Pentagon meeting with Mr. Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and senior officials of the Department of Defense, the Minister discussed enhancing the ongoing defense and security relationship between the two countries. Mr. Rodman assured the Minister the U.S. Government’s commitment to strengthen the hand of a friendly country. The Foreign Minister also visited the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, “Courageous” in Baltimore which is scheduled to be officially transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy in June 2004. Discussions on a U.S. - Sri Lanka FTA At the Office of the US Trade Representative, the Minister met with Ambassador Josette Sheeran Shiner, Deputy US Trade Representative, Ambassador Ashley Wills, Assistant US Trade Representative and Mr. Jon Rosenbaum, Assistant US Trade Representative. During the discussion, he briefed Ambassador Shiner of the interest of the new Government to pursue the Free Trade Agreement initiative with the US, with a view to liberalizing trade between the two countries. Responding to a comment made by Ambassador Shiner on the selection of Sri Lanka as a member of the first group of beneficiary countries under the Millennium Challenge Account, the Minister explained that the main thrust of the economic policy of the new government was to uplift the rural economy for which aid provided by the MCA could be utilized and discussed ways and means to expand and deepen US- Sri Lanka trade and investment relations. Meeting with Members of the U.S. - Sri Lanka Working Group at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce The Minister met with members of the US-Sri Lanka Working Group established at the US Chamber of Commerce to discuss current trade and investment opportunities in the country. The meeting was attended by representatives from the major US companies including Caterpillar, Kellwood, 3M, IMC Global Inc, Oracle Corporation, IBM, JA Austin Associates and Nathan Associates, as well as the USAID, Department of Commerce and the US Trade and Development Agency. He spoke to the members of the Working Group on the country’s long tradition of democracy and universal franchise including the prevalence of a free media and freedom of expression. The Minister assured the members, of the continuity and stability in trade and economic policies and the efforts of the new government to resolve the ethnic problem through peaceful negotiations. The Minister emphasized the necessity to uplift the rural economy in Sri Lanka and encouraged US businessmen to invest and conduct business in Sri Lanka and to take advantage of the skilled workforce and conducive business environment. Referring to the proposal of a Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and the US, he observed that the new government is interested in pursuing this initiative and requested the US business community to support the initiative. Discussions with Members of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus of the 108th Congress Minister Kadirgamar and Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe with Co Chairs of the Congressional Caucus, Representative Jerry Weller (Republican - Illinois) and Representative Frank Pallone, (Democrat – New Jersey) At a meeting with members of the Congressional Caucus of Sri Lankans and Sri Lankan Americans of the 108th US Congress, Minister Kadirgamar discussed the views of the new government with regard to the development of trade with the US, the peace process, the rehabilitation of areas affected by the conflict and rural development including agriculture and fisheries sectors. Co Chairs of the Congressional Caucus, Representative Jerry Weller (Republican - Illinois) and Representative Frank Pallone, (Democrat – New Jersey) as well as, Representative Russ Holt (Democrat – New Jersey) and Representative Scott Garrett (Republican – New Jersey) participated in the meeting. Meeting with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Minister Kadirgamar also met Senator John McCain (Republican – Arizona), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and senior staffers, and discussed bilateral trade and economic opportunities, as well as the initiatives taken by the new government to resume peace talks. The Minister expressed appreciation for the consistent position the US had taken in continuously pressurizing the LTTE to negotiate a settlement within a united Sri Lanka. The Minister re-iterated that the present government wished to pursue the initiatives to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the US, and sought Senator McCain’s support in this regard. Address at the Joint SAIS-Brookings Institute Forum – “Third World Democracy in Action: Sri Lanka’s Experience During his visit, the Minister addressed a representative gathering of policy makers, academics, journalists and members of the Sri Lankan expatriate community at a joint School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University-Brookings forum held at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, where he spoke on the theme, “Third World Democracy in Action: Sri Lanka’s Experience.” The talk was presided over by Dr. Jessica Einhorn, Dean of SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Presenting a substantive exposition on Sri Lanka’s experience with democracy, Minister Kadirgamar said that the Sri Lankan people have acquired tremendous maturity and made informed decisions at election time. The Foreign Minister highlighted that a noteworthy outcome of the recently held Parliamentary elections was the election of 9 monks to Parliament and the continuing ascendancy of the JVP with 39 seats in the present Parliament. Minister Kadirgamar noted, “They [JVP] have been put there by the people…They have earned their votes.” Highlighting that Governments need to pay greater heed to the basic needs of the people in formulating economic and development policy, the Foreign Minister mentioned that in Sri Lanka, where the bulk of the population is engaged in the rural economy, a priority of the present Government would be to work to uplift the rural economy by encouraging small and medium enterprises, upgrading agriculture, intermediate technologies, fisheries and such other areas. Commenting on the peace process, the Minister mentioned that the peace process will be restarted and that it will involve “a hard long arduous negotiation.” Tough issues will be debated and “compromise is very much the mechanism” that will be employed to approach negotiations on the ISGA Proposal put forward by the LTTE. The Foreign Minister highlighted that the US approach to the Sri Lanka problem has been “constructive and helpful.” US policy is characterized by consistency and adherence to certain principles in a final resolution of the problem. These principles include adherence to the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of the country, pluralism, human rights and democracy. Signing of the MoU between BCIS-SAIS to Further Collaboration on Foreign Policy Research and Academic Exchanges A Memorandum of Understanding between the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University was signed on May 13, 2004. The MoU was signed by the Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar in his capacity as Chairman of the BCIS and by Dr. Jessica Einhorn, Dean of SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. The MoU was the outcome of the discussions on academic collaboration the Hon. Minister had initiated with the senior faculty of the SAIS during the BCIS Seminar on “The Role of the US in South Asia” held in Colombo in March 2004. The MoU will facilitate exchange of interns and fellows between BCIS and SAIS and enable developing conferences of mutual interest. It also seeks to provide an opportunity for a Sri Lanka Foreign Service Officer to pursue graduate studies at SAIS for a year. Visit to the Washington Buddhist Vihara This visit to Washington D.C. is the fifth visit by Minister Kadirgamar as Foreign Minister, having previously visited in 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001. As on previous visits to Washington DC, the Minister visited the Washington Buddhist Vihara and received blessings from the Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri Thero, Chief Priest of the Washington Buddhist Vihara. Ven. Thavalama Bothiseha Thero and Ven. Bandarawela Nanda Thero represented the International Buddhist Center in Wheaton. Media Events Minister Kadirgamar was interviewed by the Washington D.C. based Asian media which included special correspondents of The Hindu, AFP, The Washington Times, PTI and military historian, Rajesh Kandian. He was also interviewed by Veronica Pedrossa, Co-anchor of “World News Asia” on CNN International’s World News Today. Mr. Murray Hiebert, Bureau Chief of the Far Eastern Economic Review also interviewed the Minister. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 13 May 2004