(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Minister of Youth Affairs, Project Management and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayaka undertook an official visit to Washington D.C. from September 12-13. Minister Ratnayaka is also the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.
During the visit Minister Ratnayaka met with Chairman Mac Thornberry of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and Chairman Ted Yoho of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
The Minister also met with senior interlocutors of the National Security Council, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Minister Sagala Ratnayaka briefed them on current developments in Sri Lanka. They discussed the ongoing Sri Lanka- U.S. partnership and opportunities for further expanding bilateral cooperation within the framework of President Donald Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. In this context, he welcomed the recent announcement by the U.S. of approximately $39 million in Foreign Military Financing for Sri Lanka, pending congressional approval.
Minister Ratnayaka also expressed Sri Lanka’s deep appreciation to the U.S. for the transfer of the high-endurance ex-U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Sri Lanka Navy in August. The cutter will be the largest ship in the Sri Lankan naval fleet and will strengthen bilateral defense cooperation and enhance the capacity and the operational capability of the Sri Lankan Navy to more effectively secure the country’s maritime interests.
Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Sri Lanka Priyanga Wickramasinghe and senior officials of the Embassy were associated with Minister Ratnayaka in the bilateral discussions.
Later, Minister Ratnayaka visited California where he attended the 2018 International Democrat Union (IDU) Meeting from September 16-18 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Democrat Union is an IDU Vice Chairman (ex-officio) since 2005.