Another top U.S. State Dept. official to visit Sri Lanka next week

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard R. Verma is slated to travel to Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives from February 18 – 23.

According to a statement from the State Department, Verma’s visits are expected to bolster the United States’ cooperation with each of these key Indo-Pacific partners.

The Deputy Secretary’s meetings with senior officials in Colombo will support U.S.-Sri Lankan defense and maritime security cooperation, the statement read further.

Verma will visit the Colombo Port’s West Container Terminal, where the U.S. is supporting Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic recovery through USD 553 million in financing to transform Colombo into a regional shipping hub.

Subsequently, he will meet with civil society leaders to hear their perspective on democratic governance in Sri Lanka and with government officials to voice U.S. support for the protection of free speech and open discourse.

Prior to his Sri Lanka visit, Verma will travel to India and the Maldives to discuss full range of issues including economic cooperation, security, and technology.

Meanwhile, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Elizabeth M. Allen is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka next week. The State Department said Allen’s visits to India, Sri Lanka and Jordan would underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to reinforcing and expanding partnerships and alliances.

While in Colombo, she plans to foster dialogue on freedom of expression and democratic values with diverse groups of stakeholders, including journalists, civil society members, government officials, and the Embassy’s Youth Forum.

Her engagements with the Sri Lanka Press Institute, U.S. public diplomacy program alumni, and local content creators will emphasize the critical role of preserving diverse voices for a stable and inclusive Sri Lanka, the statement read further.

Additionally, she will meet with representatives from Sri Lanka’s multifaith community to underscore the importance of societal inclusivity.