US to support SL’s fight against terrorism, aid agency offers $480mn grant

Washington: The United States on Thursday reiterated support for Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism. The support came in the wake of the Easter Sunday coordinated bombings which killed more than 250 people across the country last month.

US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo met Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana here on Thursday and the two attended a high-level meeting that focused on security, counter-terrorism and transnational organised crime among other matters.

In a statement, the State Department said, “The Secretary (Pompeo) reiterated the United States’ condemnation of the attacks that Sri Lanka suffered last month, which also killed five Americans and strong US support for Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism.”

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“Foreign Minister Marapana noted appreciation for U.S. support in the aftermath of the bombings and conveyed Sri Lanka’s interest in deepening cooperation to prevent future attacks,” the statement said.

Pompeo and Marapana further welcomed the approval of a USD 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact as an important development that will contribute to prosperity and economic sovereignty in Sri Lanka.
The MCC is an innovative and independent US foreign assistance agency that helps to curb global poverty, provides time-limited grants promoting economic growth, and strengthening institutions.

The Daily Mirror reported that the two officials and the delegates of the two countries are also expected to discuss Indo-Pacific strategy, Sri Lanka and the Asian region, military-to-military relations, visiting forces agreement and assistance to Sri Lanka’s Peacekeeping-Capabilities.

The deadly terror attacks targeted three churches and three high-end hotels located across the cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa. Over 500 people were injured in the April 21 attacks.


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