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Nov 14, 2016

Obama was ready to visit SL last May - Mangala

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has revealed that US President Barack Obama was ready to visit Sri Lanka last May.

He had said thus during an interview with 'The Hindu' publication of India.

"Now I suppose it doesn’t matter, I must reveal something which many people don’t know so far. Last May [2016], even President Obama was ready to come to Sri Lanka which would have been the first ever official visit by an American President. But unfortunately, the dates suggested happened to be Vesak Day [Buddha Purnima day, when Sri Lanka observes grand celebrations for a week] and Vesak week. Such an important visit could not take place during that week, so we missed that amazing opportunity," he has said.

"But I must say that President Obama did develop a very close relationship with President Sirisena to the extent where President Obama would come up to President Sirisena to say hello at whichever international forum they used to meet. So this shows how far American relations have improved during the recent times."

Minister Samaraweera has further said, "I hope and I am sure we can build this relationship even further under the Trump administration as well. There are certain concerns about some of the policies which candidate Trump expounded during the campaign but we, here in Sri Lanka, also are very tuned to the fact that what you say at election time is not always what you do when you are elected, because the American system, I am sure, will steer the new administration along the same path as far as international relations are concerned."

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