US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday cancelled his trip to Sri Lanka, still recovering from the Easter Sunday bombings, due to “unavoidable scheduling conflicts” during his visit to the Indo-Pacific region next week.
Pompeo’s trip to Colombo was aimed at expressing America’s solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka as they stand united against the despicable April 21 suicide attacks.
New Delhi would be Pompeo’s first stop and South Korea his last during the nearly week-long visit to the Indo-Pacific region, beginning June 24, that was also scheduled to take him to Sri Lanka and Japan.
His trip is aimed at deepening US partnerships in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
The US Embassy in Colombo in a statement said Pompeo will not be visiting Sri Lanka due to “unavoidable scheduling conflicts” during his visit to the Indo-Pacific region that includes accompanying President Donald Trump to the G20 Summit in Japan.
“Pompeo regrets that he is no longer able to visit Colombo at this time. He hopes to travel to Sri Lanka at a later date to underscore our strong partnership with Sri Lanka, which is rooted in a commitment to democracy, economic growth and a free, open Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said.
“The US remains committed to these objectives and looks forward to building on our longstanding partnership,” it said.
Pompeo was visiting Sri Lanka at a time when the country is heeling after serial suicide bombings in Colombo that left nearly 260 dead.
The last US Secretary of State to visit Sri Lanka was John Kerry in May 2015.