US defence experts to arrive Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 August 2002, 18:49 GMT]
A team of United States defence experts is to arrive Colombo Sunday to assess urgent needs to boost training Sri Lankan security forces, State run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) reported Saturday quoting government sources. "The arrival of US defence experts to Sri Lanka at a time when direct peace talks are scheduled to commence between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will not hinder the progress of such talks," stressed Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor G.L.Peiris Saturday in clarification.

US defence team comprises members of the office of the Defence Secretary and the National Defence University, American Embassy sources said.

The main purpose of the US defence team's visit is to identify the potential areas for the future American assistance. The visit is as a result of talks between US President Mr. George W. Bush and Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe in Washington last July and also of the visit by Mr. Richard Armitage, US Deputy Secretary of State last week to Sri Lanka, SLBC quoted American ambassador Mr.Ashely Wills as saying.

Mr.Armitage had promised to provide assistance to Sri Lanka in the fields of defence, education, trade, commerce, justice and human rights, government sources said.


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