WASHINGTON (AP) — John Kerry is making the first visit to Sri Lanka by a U.S. secretary of state in a decade. It’s a rare opportunity to champion democratic reform and to tighten ties at a strategic crossroads in the vast Indian Ocean.
Kerry is scheduled to arrive early Saturday local time in Colombo, where he’ll meet with Sri Lanka’s president, prime minister and foreign minister. He’ll also speak with leading officials of the island nation’s Tamil minority.
Fighting intensified in 2005 between Sri Lanka’s government and the Tamil Tigers separatists until 2009, when the former president tightened his grip on power. The current president has led democratic reforms, prompting Kerry’s visit.