Ranil to push SL agenda in USA
By Namini Wijedasa
Washington - Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday kicked off his visit here with a series of discussions which diplomats said had been designed to push a specific Sri Lankan agenda revolving around peace and the economy.
"We want to push our agenda forward," said a Washington-based diplomat. "This is not just an excuse to shake hands, take photographs and move on. Its a whole process."
While the highlight of the visit is Wickremesinghes meeting with President George W. Bush tomorrow, he also called yesterday on Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, accompanying the Prime Minister are Foreign Affairs Minister Tyronne Fernando, Science and Technology
Minister Milinda Moragoda and Foreign Secretary Bernard Goonetilleke.
The Prime Minister is due later today to conduct a luncheon address at American Enterprise Institute.
Also during this visit Wickremesinghe is scheduled to touch base with two influential journalists whom the government hopes will help keep the spotlight on Sri Lanka. Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and author, is a two-time Pulitzer winner who has during the past addressed Sri Lankan issues in US media. Murray Hiebert is a writer for the Far Eastern Economic Review who has also reported on Sri Lanka - just last month, he wrote a rosy outlook for the countrys economy, saying foreign investors were confident war would not break out again.
Wickremesinghe will hold talks, too, with International Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. The two are expected today to explore the possibility of IPC restarting operations in Sri Lanka, especially in areas of English education and information technology.
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