Mr. Ambassador, I am pleased to accept your letter of Credence from President Kumaratunga, which establishes you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and I acknowledge the Letter of Recall of your predecessor. Thank you for your greetings on behalf of your President. The United States has been following the peace process in your country with great interest. We are living in trying times, but Sri Lanka stands out as an island of optimism in this troubled world. Sadly, both of our countries have experienced terrorism first-hand. The United States appreciates Sri Lanka's encouraging stance on the war against terror and its supportive posture in the current crisis on Iraq. America will continue to count on your support in the days ahead. We both know it takes courage and determination to fight a war. As the peace process in Sri Lanka reaches a stage where difficult issues have to be addressed and real compromises have to be made, it becomes clear that it takes no less courage and no less determination to pursue peace. Let me assure you that the United States wholeheartedly supports Sri Lanka's efforts to transform violence and bloodshed into peace. Your country faces difficult challenges ahead. Reconstruction and reintegration after 20 years of civil war will not be accomplished easily or without cost. Sri Lanka has a history of democracy and a resiliency in its economy that will lend strength to your endeavors. In addition, Sri Lanka has the good will of the international community. The United States is increasing its economic assistance in support of the peace process, and is encouraging other nations to do the same. Sri Lanka has enormous economic potential, which has been impeded by war. Now, with peace on the horizon, with b old economic reforms being put in place, and with a literate society and an educated workforce, Sri Lanka stands on the threshold of prosperity. I welcome you to Washington as Sri Lanka's Ambassador, and I am confident your tenure in Washington will be marked by increasing ties between our two countries in trade and commerce as well as in human and cultural exchanges. Let me assure you the United States will support Sri Lanka as a friend.