A delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives led by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, departed Colombo on February 25 following a two-day visit to Colombo. This was the second visit by members of the U.S. Congress to Sri Lanka in February 2017, demonstrating the bipartisan support in the legislative branch of the U.S. Government for Sri Lanka’s democracy and its efforts to ensure lasting reconciliation.
The delegation visited Sri Lanka to discuss strategic issues affecting vital sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific, learn about Sri Lanka’s progress in forging lasting reconciliation and a non-recurrence of conflict, including a new Constitution, and to learn more about economic reforms which could increase bilateral trade and investment between the United States and Sri Lanka. The delegation also expressed their support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to fulfill its Geneva commitments, including more land returns. Members also stressed the importance of the bilateral partnership to combat and eradicate trafficking in persons.
The Members of Congress and accompanying staff members, accompanied by United States Ambassador Atul Keshap, met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan. They also met with members of the American business community resident in Sri Lanka. Chairman Goodlatte (Republican-Virginia) was joined by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat-Texas), George Holding (Republican-North Carolina), Henry Cuellar (Democrat-Texas), Jason Smith (Republican-Missouri), Hank Johnson (Democrat-Georgia), Dave Trott (Republican-Michigan), and David Cicilline (Democrat-Rhode Island).