An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 31, 2022

Remarks by Under Secretary of State for Management John Bass On the Occasion of the Opening of the U.S. Embassy Colombo

U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka -- Thank you, Deputy Chief of Mission Sonnek for the introduction and thank you, Ambassador Chung for the warm welcome. President of Sri Lanka Honorable Ranil Wickremesinghe, Honorable Speaker, Honorable Ministers, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and UN agencies, Members of Parliament, esteemed guests, and U.S. Embassy colleagues.

I bring warm wishes from Secretary Blinken and am honored to join Ambassador Chung and all of you to celebrate the opening of our new

Embassy here in Colombo. We are marking the completion of our newest embassy building overseas — but more importantly, we have an opportunity to reflect on what this project embodies — the strong, enduring friendship and partnership between our countries and peoples.

This building is innovative, sustainable, and resilient. It is also rooted in the soil of this beautiful country. Diplomats come and go, given the nature of our profession — but our embassies, and all our local colleagues who work with us, remain — providing the platform that enables all the work we do together.

As you look around, you will see many design elements that reflect Sri Lanka’s beauty and hospitality. That’s intentional. Just as real friendship requires us to listen to, and understand, the people of this country — our embassies should blend into the local cultural landscape.

As diplomats, we are not only representatives of the United States; we are also guests in this country. As such, it is important to us to tread lightly on the land and your resources. That’s always true — but it is especially important as we work together to address the challenges climate change pose for all of us. This building generates green energy, reducing the electricity we need from your grid. It also features

an on-site wastewater treatment plant so we can treat and recycle grey water for irrigation. Landscaping based on indigenous plants promote the local ecosystem, support wildlife and habitat growth, and

minimize the need for irrigation. We anticipate this building will earn a Silver level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The building also reflects our commitment to diversity, transparency, and support for a resilient, prosperous Sri Lanka. As with all our new embassies, the construction contract was the product of a transparent, merit-based competition. Many of the materials — also acquired through fair, open competition — were purchased here, and made from your natural resources. All told, the project injected $90 million into your economy. A team of some 1,800 U.S., Sri Lankan, and third-country nationals transformed a concept into this reality.

The building, though, is only the starting point. It’s what our team does — with all of you — that really matters. I do not have to tell you that these are complicated, perilous times. You are living through them and dealing with the ripple effects. So now is the time to work anew towards stronger governance and transparency, both economically and politically. As Secretary Blinken noted back in August when meeting with Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, thank you, Mr. Minister, “In crisis, there is also opportunity and I hope that there’s an opportunity…to make something very positive out of a very difficult situation.”

As friends, we are working hard to help you weather this crisis — and to embrace the opportunity it presents. That’s why the United States has provided $240 million in the past five months. This support is not in the form of vanity projects or loans at high interest rates for which we will demand repayment. It does not have strings attached — other than a requirement that it be directed to those most in need, or to farmers and other citizens of this country who can contribute to solving your own challenges. It’s assistance — grants and commodities — to help you in your hour of need. It’s what friends do to help each other — whether those friends are individuals, governments, or countries.

This assistance, and the recent visits of other senior U.S. officials, reflect a partnership that is almost 75 years old. From this new embassy, Ambassador Chung and her colleagues, and those Americans who follow them, will continue to strengthen and deepen our partnership with the government and people of Sri Lanka over the next 75 years. We are excited to see what the future will bring,

Thank you again for joining us today. I look forward to our continued success.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
332,953
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. and Indonesia Hold Inaugural Keris Marine Exercise in Lampung
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jonathan Wagner, the operations officer for Marine Rotational Force-Southeast Asia, I Marine Expeditionary Force, places an armband on Indonesian 1st Lt. Ketut Yoga Kosala, a platoon leader with 7th Infantry Battalion, 4th Marine Brigade, during the Keris Marine Exercise.
Nov. 22, 2022 - JAKARTA, U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia -- Marine forces from the U.S. Military and Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) are holding the Keris Marine Exercise (MAREX) from November 11-25, 2022, at Piabung training...

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Meeting With Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh
Nov. 22, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met today with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh in...

Japan Provides Asset Protection for Australian and US Ships in Trilateral Exercise
The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), steams in formation with Royal Australian Navy supply ship, HMAS Stalwart (A304), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship, JS Setogiri (DD 156), in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 20. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, and supports Alliances, partnerships and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
Nov. 22, 2022 - Japan -- The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has successfully provided asset protection for Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and United States Navy (USN) ships during an exercise in the seas off Japan.The trilateral...

Air Force Supports First Ever Army Warfighter Exercise in Indo-Pacific Focusing on Joint Large-scale Combat Operations
U.S. Air Force Airmen supported U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army’s Mission Command Training Program Soldiers during the Army’s first warfighter exercise to take place in the Indo-Pacific theatre concentrating on joint large-scale combat operations contested in all domains, Sep. 30, 2022. The team led by 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1 based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with support from the 505th Combat Training Squadron and 505th Communications Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, delivered a doctrinally accurate air component to 1,150 Soldiers and Airmen representing the Army’s I Corps, 4th Infantry Division, and 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, along with the 1st Air Support Operations Group and 13th and 25th Air Support Operations Squadrons. (Security badges, papers and screens were blurred for security reasons) (U.S. Air Force photo by Shelton Keel)
Nov. 22, 2022 - U.S. Air Force Airmen supported U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army’s Mission Command Training Program Soldiers during the Army’s first warfighter exercise to take place in the Indo-Pacific theatre concentrating on joint...

Carrier Strike Group 5 Concludes Keen Sword 23
Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) approach an MV-22B Osprey helicopter to chock and chain it after it landed on flight deck while in the Philippine Sea during Keen Sword 23. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral, biennial field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability and strengthen the ironclad Japan-U.S. alliance.
Nov. 21, 2022 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 Sailors along with Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and Joint force U.S. military personnel, conclude Keen Sword 2023 (KS23), a biennial joint/bi-lateral field training exercise,...