US military officials to visit SL frequently — Armitage

Visiting United States Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage on Thursday said that officials of the US military establishment would visit Sri Lanka frequently.

When asked by "The Island" about such visits, Armitage said that it was with the view to establish a "University of Defence" in Sri Lanka.

He also added that the United States would continue to assist in the training of military personnel in Sri Lanka and will also help to reorganise the structure of the security forces in this country.

Armitage said that he had read much about the situation in the Sri Lankan newspapers and said that in his view "Cohabitation" was the answer.

The US Deputy State Secretary on his arrival in Colombo flew to Jaffna on Thursday to see the US funded demining programme carried out there.

Armitage accompanied by Economic Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda visited the military offices and the Bishop’s House.

He met the demining team engaged in carrying out the mission, inspected the equipment used for the purpose and held talks with those officials.

The Commanding Officers of the armed forces in Jaffna explained to Armitage the present situation in the peninsula after the MoU came into force.

Armitage who flew back to Colombo had a one-to-one meeting with President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s nominee for peace process, former Foreign Minister and parliamentarian Lakshman Kadirgamar.