WHITE 3D EMBOSSES CAPITAL LETTERS

President Bush to Welcome the Prime Minister to the White House on November 4, 2003

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be visiting Washington DC from the 3rd to 5th November 2003 during which he will meet President George W. Bush at the White House. He is also scheduled to meet senior US administration officials, Senators and Congressmen. A further highlight of the visit will be a visit to the premier biotechnology institutes and companies located in the "Biotechnology Corridor" in the State of Maryland. "The Prime Minister's forthcoming visit follows the earlier visit to the White House in July 2002 to meet President Bush, during which the two leaders discussed key bilateral issues and the peace initiatives of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. That visit established the foundation for enhancing the bilateral relationship in a mutually beneficial manner" said Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States of America. Current relations between the two countries are marked by regular, high level contacts and meaningful bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, national security and global issues. The US has been actively engaged in supporting the Peace Process in Sri Lanka. The US Government hosted the Pre-Tokyo Donor Conference held in Washington DC in April 2003 and Co-chaired the Tokyo Donor Conference in June 2003. These efforts underline the active support of the US Government in re-establishing peace, national security and economic progress in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will apprise President Bush on the current status of the Peace Process and on the economic reform program of the Government. The discussions the Prime Minister will have during this visit are expected to further reinforce the support of the US Government towards the maintenance of the ceasefire and a negotiated settlement in Sri Lanka that would end decades of conflict. The discussions are also expected to further enhance the deepening and diversification of trade between the two countries, especially because the visit follows the recently concluded Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) 3rd Joint Council meeting in Colombo on October 14th, 2003. The two leaders will have wide- ranging discussions that will also include regional and international developments. It is expected that the current visit of the Prime Minster will deepen and widen the close ties that have been forged between the two countries since the July 2002 visit. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 24 October 2003