US offers to expand counterterrorism cooperation with Sri Lanka

The United States reiterated President Trump’s statement that America stands with Sri Lanka against terrorism and supports Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism efforts following the horrific Easter Sunday terrorist attacks of April 21.Sri Lanka expressed appreciation for US support, including multi-faceted assistance from the US Embassy in Colombo and investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The two sides discussed possible areas of future assistance as well.The terrorists who struck Sri Lanka on Easter appear to have drawn inspiration from ISIS. In this context, Sri Lanka was briefed about the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The United States offered to continue to expand counter-terrorism and maritime and border security cooperation with Sri Lanka. In this context, the U.S. strategy towards a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, which ensures freedom of navigation, overflight, and unimpeded commerce was acknowledged as an important initiative.They shared the intention to further promote cooperation and exchanges in maritime security and safety, and noted with satisfaction the Indian Ocean conference hosted by Sri Lanka in October 2018, and agreed to continue to pursue joint initiatives to enhance security, stability, transparency, and economic opportunity for mutual benefit.Sri Lanka welcomed the arrival of the Secretary Class High Endurance Cutter transferred through the U.S. Excess Defense Articles program to advance mutual interests in building Sri Lankan capacity to monitor its territorial waters, counter smuggling and other illegal activity, and enhance its humanitarian assistance and disaster response capability in the Indian Ocean. The Foreign Minister was in the US to take part in the third U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue held in Washington, DC. The United States has offered to expand counter-terrorism cooperation with Sri Lanka.This was mentioned in a joint statement issued by the United States and Sri Lanka following the conclusion of a visit to the US by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana. The meeting was co-chaired by Marapana and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.Both Governments reaffirmed the importance of the bilateral relationship, firmly rooted inshared values as fellow democracies and committed to working together to furtherstrengthen the partnership. Both Governments welcomed ongoing bilateral security sector cooperation, including U.S. support for demining, joint military engagements, Sri Lanka’s peacekeeping operations, human rights training for Sri Lankan officers, and visits by U.S. ships and military officials.The United States and Sri Lanka agreed to expand military-to-military cooperation. The United States government welcomed the renewal of Sri Lanka’s commitment to promote reconciliation, accountability, justice, and human rights in pursuit of lasting peace and prosperity.The United States acknowledged progress in these areas, including on the mandate of the Office of Missing Persons, passage of legislation to establish an Office of Reparations, and the return of private land used by security forces.The Government of Sri Lanka emphasized its commitment to strengthening democracy, democratic institutions and practices, good governance, the rule of law, justice and parliamentary procedures.The United States encouraged Sri Lanka to sustain momentum in the implementation of these commitments.The United States and Sri Lanka expressed support for strong economic partnership and growing bilateral trade based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity.The two Governments welcomed the approval of a $480-million compact by the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board. Signature of the compact is pending Congressional approval in the United States and Cabinet approval in Sri Lanka.Together, the United States and Sri Lanka emphasized the importance of their bilateral relationship and expressed commitment to further strengthen the U.S.-Sri Lanka partnership for mutual benefit. (Colombo Gazette) The joint statement said that sharing a commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, the United States and Sri Lanka convened the third U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue on May 16, 2019, in Washington, DC. The United States and Sri Lanka resolved to work together to foster peace and security and ensure a safe maritime domain in the Indian and Pacific Oceans through a rules-based order that ensures respect for international laws and norms. read more

admin

Womens basketball Ohio State clinches a share of the Big Ten title

Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell pulls up for a shot in the second half against Wisconsin at the Schottenstein Center on Jan. 19. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorThe 12th-ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team (25-5, 15-1) defeated Rutgers 73-45 to clinch its 15th Big Ten title. The Buckeyes stellar defense was the driving force in capturing the program’s first title since the 2009-10 season.With Sunday’s win over the Scarlet Knights (6-23, 3-12), the Buckeyes have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament.Sunday’s game was OSU’s first in their last eight games that the team failed to score at least 87 points. The Buckeyes usually rely on their offensive output to win their games, but it was stellar defensive play that allowed OSU to pull away with the win. Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell led OSU with 21 points and five assists, her 10th straight game with 20 or more points. She was followed by senior forward Shayla Cooper — a player that has stepped up since the injury to junior forward Stephanie Mavunga — with 12 points and seven rebounds. For the first few minutes of the game, OSU’s 63 percent shooting on Monday didn’t carry over, but the Buckeyes 2-2-1 press forced nine Rutgers turnovers that turned into a 15-0 run that lasted for the majority of the first quarter.OSU continued the steady offensive pace into the second quarter with consistent outside shooting. The Buckeyes shot well from deep, hitting 50 percent in the second quarter, and knocking down four shots from 3-point range. On defense, the Buckeyes continued to throw off Rutgers, switching from a man defense to a 2-3 zone, then to a 3-2 zone. Those different looks prevented Rutgers from getting into an offensive rhythm, leading to a miserable 22 percent from the field. The Buckeyes led 37-17 at halftime.At the start of the third quarter, Rutgers got the ball out quickly to avoid full-court pressure and ran the ball up the floor. The Scarlet Knights hit five consecutive shots midway through the quarter and stayed in the game with 57 percent third-quarter shooting. The Buckeyes fired back by penetrating the basket, grabbing their own points from the field, and ended the quarter maintaining a 17-point lead, 53-36.In the last quarter of play, OSU reestablished their defense and slowed down the Scarlet Knights with its full-court press. On offense, OSU outscored Rutgers 20-9 and made three 3s to keep any chance of a comeback at bay. Ohio State is set to play the winner of No. 8 seed versus the No. 9 seed on March 3 at noon. The final Big Ten standings have yet to be determined. read more

admin