SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  I’m very pleased to have Foreign Minister Sabry here.  We had a chance to meet on the margins of the ASEAN —


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  — meetings, so second time we’re able to get together in person.  We’ve had almost 75 years of partnership with Sri Lanka.  We’ll celebrate that next year, and of course we are working very closely together on issues of global import, including the climate crisis, where Sri Lanka has been taking some important steps to help the world address it.  And of course the United States has been working closely with Sri Lanka in the midst of the serious economic challenges that Sri Lanka is facing.  We provided some $240 million in assistance and loans, and we’re also working together both to support economic stability but also political stability and progress.

So I’m looking forward to continuing our discussions here today.  Welcome.  It’s really good to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER SABRY:  Thank you very much, Secretary Blinken, for inviting me, and it’s a pleasure being here.  Sri Lanka and the U.S. have been long-term partners – 75 years of diplomatic relationship that – almost the period of independence.


FOREIGN MINISTER SABRY:  So one of the first countries to recognize us.  We were very happy.  And then we have had a very good relationship.  I must take this opportunity, Secretary, to pay my gratitude for American people and your administration, Biden administration, for a lot of support during a very testing time for Sri Lankans.  So we are grateful particularly for your humanitarian support – loans, grants – and technical support.  We are extremely grateful, and we are looking forward to work for even better relationship and particularly in the Indian Ocean and eastern Pacific.  And I must make this opportunity to also thank you and the Treasury for playing a leading role in allowing us and facilitating us to approach the IMF, restructure our debt, and to go to the board sooner than later in order to get our EFF as soon as possible.

Thank you very much, my friend.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Come on in.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future