President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent visit to the United States has stirred controversy among the opposition, but according to Presidential Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene, the nation stands to benefit significantly from the trip.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Presidential Media Centre yesterday (25) under the theme ‘Collective path to a stable country’, Wijewardene highlighted the strengthened bonds between USA and Sri Lanka, as well as with other global powers, as a result of the visit.
“The long-term friendship between the United States and Sri Lanka, along with our positive relations with other world leaders, has been further reinforced during this visit,” stated Wijewardene.
He went on to underscore the significance of the visit in the context of this year’s United Nations General Assembly session in New York, which focused on ‘Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals’. President Wickremesinghe held discussions with numerous heads of state during the event, with expectations running high for favourable outcomes.
During a meeting with World Bank President Ajay Banga, on the first day of the visit, President Wickremesinghe received praise for the Government’s economic policies and plans for future assistance in climate change initiatives and development programmes were announced. Banga expressed his intention to visit Sri Lanka later this year.
In talks with the President of Korea, it was agreed to provide employment opportunities for a significant number of Sri Lankan youth and offer support for development initiatives. President Wickremesinghe also participated in the Third Annual Indo-Pacific Islands Dialogue, emphasizing the importance of regional cooperation to safeguard the identities of island states.
The visit solidified Sri Lanka’s relations with the United States, particularly in the context of climate change and sustainable development and President Wickremesinghe stressed the need for developed countries to play a significant role in addressing climate change and assist developing countries, including Sri Lanka, achieve their Sustainable Development Goals.
President Wickremesinghe also touched upon global concerns such as inflation, food and energy security. Sri Lanka aims to meet 70 percent of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources by 2030. Plans are in place to increase forest protection by 32 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14.5 percent, with the goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050.
Despite opposition criticism of President Wickremesinghe’s visit, Wijewardene concluded that the trip was of paramount importance to the nation, strengthening trust in Sri Lanka on the global stage through productive discussions with world leaders.