Washington: Refuting the impression that the new Sri Lankan government is pro-India and anti-China, the country's new Foreign Minister has said that Colombo would act only in the best interest of Lankan people.
"There is nothing called, pro-India policy. Our policy is pro-Sri Lanka. In fact, the policy of the new administration is to embrace the whole world. We see the international community per se as an opportunity and not as a threat," Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told a Washington audience yesterday.
On his maiden visit to the US after the new government led by Maithripala Sirisena took office last month, Samaraweera is also scheduled to meet the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, at the State Department later today.
"Our policy would be to embrace the whole world and ensure that our relations with our neighbours which were strained over the years are rebuilt. This is part of the rebuilding process," Samaraweera said when asked about the first foreign visit of the new Lankan President to India.
"At the same time, we would also continue to have good relations with countries like China," he said, adding that at the end of the month, he would be visiting Beijing.
When asked about the various Chinese projects in the island nation, Samaraweera said the new government is not exclusively re-examining Chinese deals.
"In fact we are looking at many of the projects undertaken by the previous government where we feel that due procedures have not been followed. They could be Chinese, they could be Indians, they could be Americans. If we feel that they are not up to the required standards then they would be reviewed," he said.
He said the new government has also waged a war against corruption and they would take action if there is any corruption involved in such deals.
Responding to questions on human rights, he said: "Unlike previous government we are not in a state of denial that such violations have not occurred. We believe that such violations have occurred."
He urged the United Nations to delay a report into alleged war crimes in the country to allow the new government to complete its own probe.
Samaraweera further said that not only India, but all those who care for democracy all over the world were elated by the victory of Sirisena.
"To say India is elated is not putting the whole thing in perspective. Friends of democracy all over the world, those who have been to Sri Lanka and those who have not been to Sri Lanka were elated by election results," he said.