Dealing with SL: US Senate advocates less confrontational approach – New York Times
‘Sri Lanka too important a country to be isolated’

The New York Times (NY) reported yesterday that a report on Sri Lanka to be released next week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged a less confrontational approach to that nation, citing strategic American interests in the region.

NY said that the bipartisan report endorsed by Senator John Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the committee, as well as Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican, was being released as the Obama administration was preparing to announce its new policy on Sri Lanka against the backdrop of questions about what Western countries could do to influence the Sri Lankan government.

"With the end of the war, the United States needs to re-evaluate its relationship with Sri Lanka to reflect new political and economic realities," the report says according to NY. "While humanitarian concerns remain important, US policy toward Sri Lanka cannot be dominated by a single agenda. It is not effective at delivering real reform, and it shortchanges U.S. geostrategic interests in the region."

The tough strategy of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s president, and his two brothers, Gotabaya and Basil, had helped defeat the insurgency in May after more than two decades of war, NY said.

According to NY dispatch the US report argues that ‘Sri Lanka is too important a country to be isolated from the West’.

"Sri Lanka is located at the nexus of crucial maritime trading routes in the Indian Ocean connecting Europe and the Middle East to China and the rest of Asia," the report says. "The United States, India, and China all share an interest in deterring terrorist activity and curbing piracy that could disrupt maritime trade."

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