Amid improving US ties, new Sri Lanka ends contracts with Washington lobbyists

MarketsAssociated Press

Sri Lanka's ambassador says its new government has terminated lobbying contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars a month that its predecessor had signed to help win friends in Washington.

The investment in lobbyists to foster political and economic ties with the U.S. gathered steam last summer amid bad strains in the relationship. The previous government resisted international pressure to probe civilian deaths during the South Asian nation's civil war that ended 2009.

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But there has been a turnaround in the U.S.-Sri Lanka relationship after new President Maithripala Sirisena (mai-TREE-pah-lah see-REE-se-nah) won Jan. 8 elections and promised democratic reforms and accountability for human rights violations.

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam (prah-SAD kah-REE-yah-wah-sam) said Friday that the new government does not see a reason or requirement to hire lobbyists now.