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US congratulates Rajapaksa

world Updated: Jan 29, 2010 08:16 IST

PTI
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Congratulating Mahinda Rajapaksa on his re-election as the president of Sri Lanka, the Obama administration has said that he now has an opportunity to go ahead with the political reconciliation process.

At the same time the administration said it is watching carefully the developments in Colombo and is in close contact
with opposition leader General Sarath Fonseka.

"We are watching carefully and we have been in touch with General Fonseka regarding the security around him," Assistant
Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley told a press conference.

"We think that President Rajapaksa now has an opportunity to continue to move forward with the political reconciliation
process that he has started, the devolution of responsibility to the provinces, and to continue to work on full
accountability of the -- of what happened at the -- as the conflict with the Tamil Tigers was finalised," Crowley said.

Crowley said the Obama administration welcomes some steps that the Rajapaksa Government has taken so far.

"But obviously, now the election itself was a step forward. This is the first national election that Sri Lanka
has been able to hold in, I think, 20 years. The turnout was very significant, although we recognise not necessarily as
large in certain parts of the country," he said.