Published On: Tue, Nov 15th, 2016

President Obama was ready to visit Sri Lanka in May

1332331722ma350US President Barack Obama was ready to visit Sri Lanka last May, but it was put off due to the Vesak celebrations, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. “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” Samaraweera said in an interview with the ‘Hindu’. Samaraweera also said that President Obama had developed a very close relationship with President Maithripala Sirisena. “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”. Samaraweera also noted that Sri Lanka hopes to further build on the strong ties with the US under the Trump administration as well.

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