Colombo, June 6: The U.S. Department of State’s Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper visited Sri Lanka from June 2 through 5 to discuss security cooperation and assess the progress of U.S.-funded demining programs. Assistant Secretary Cooper traveled to the Eastern Province to observe demining operations and meet with project beneficiaries. The projects are part of the nearly 970 million Sri Lankan rupees ($5.5 million) in assistance that the U.S. Department of State provided towards Sri Lanka’s demining efforts in fiscal year 2018.
“The United States is proud to partner with Sri Lanka in reaching its goal to become mine-impact free by 2020. Landmine removal is just one aspect of how the U.S.-Sri Lanka security partnership contributes to the safety of all Sri Lankans,” said Assistant Secretary Cooper. “President Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy underscores the importance of sovereign nations working together to advance shared interests. We respect Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence and look forward to continuing our bilateral cooperation.”
Since 2002, the United States has provided more than 9.5 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($56 million) to clear explosive hazards in Sri Lanka. U.S. funding advances clearance efforts in nine districts affected by landmine contamination and currently supports more than 650 de-mining jobs across the Northern and Eastern Provinces.