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SL Prez, US envoy discuss economic crisis

 Underlining the 70 years of partnership between the two countries, the US ambassador noted the importance of good governance and respect for human rights…reports Asian Lite News

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung met Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday and discussed the ongoing economic and political crisis and ways to work together to navigate toward a brighter future.

“Met with President @RW_UNP at the Presidential Secretariat today. He takes office at a time when Sri Lanka stands at a crossroads. We discussed how it arrived at this point of economic & political crisis, and how we can work together to navigate toward a brighter future for all,” Ambassador Julie Chung tweeted.

 Underlining the 70 years of partnership between the two countries, the US ambassador noted the importance of good governance and respect for human rights.

“Our countries and our people have been friends and partners for more than 70 years, relationships that will flourish in a Sri Lanka that embraces good governance, respects human rights and listens to the aspirations of its people,” she said in another tweet.

Wickremesinghe was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka last week after he was elected as president in an election held in Parliament. During last week’s vote, Wickremesinghe received 134 votes following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the presidency last week amid severe economic turmoil in the country.

Shortly after Wickremesinghe took the oath, incidents of violence were reported at the protest site in Galle Face in Colombo. The military operation began within 24 hours of Wickremesinghe being sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka and just before a new cabinet was appointed.

Subsequently, US Ambassador to Colombo had asked for restraint by authorities and immediate access to medical attention for those injured. “Deeply concerned about actions taken against protestors at Galle Face in the middle of the night. We urge restraint by authorities and immediate access to medical attention for those injured,” Ambassador Chung said in a tweet last week.

The European Union (EU) also stressed the importance of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Sri Lanka’s economy is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency since March 2022, coupled with a lack of foreign reserves, and the country’s failure to meet its international debt obligations.

Hundreds of Sri Lankans continue to queue up at petrol pumps across the debt-ridden country every day amid fuel shortage, and a large number of people are ditching their cars and motorcycles for bicycles for their daily commute.

The economic crisis which is the worst in Sri Lanka’s history has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like fuel. (ANI)

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