Wickremesinghe to brief Bush on peace efforts

Colombo, July 11: Sri Lanka today announced that its Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would meet US President George W Bush in Washington later this month to brief him on his peace efforts and economic reforms, a government spokesman said.

Colombo, July 11: Sri Lanka today announced that its Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would meet US President George W Bush in Washington later this month to brief him on his peace efforts and economic reforms, a government spokesman said.
Cabinet spokesman G L Peiris told reporters here that President Bush had readily agreed to meet Wickremesinghe and was eager to discuss the government's peace initiatives and economic reforms.

"It is a measure of the goodwill that is available to US, and the esteem in which the Prime Minister is held," he said.

During his visit to the US, the dates for which are yet to be disclosed, Wickremesinghe would sign two agreements to secure Sri Lanka's interests in the apparel industry, which accounts for 53 per cent of the island nation's foreign exchange earnings, and another for double taxation avoidance.

However, Peiris did not a refer to proposal under discussion between the two countries' to sign an "acquisition and cross-servicing agreement," a reciprocal pact the US has its many other nations on military facilities.

In recent months, the US has been playing a prominent role in highlighting the need for resolving Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict.

The LTTE, finding itself on the receiving end of critical US statements on issues like recruitment of children for combat and harassment of civilians, has frequently expressed suspicion about the government's intentions in
warming up to the US.

However, the government believes it needs the strong support of the international community, especially US and India, for the success of its peace initiative.

Bureau Report

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