US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Robert Blake
14 September 2012. Sri Lanka should cut corruption and create transparent processes for investors and also avoid unpredictable actions such as expropriating property, a senior US State Department official said. “In general we want to see the government do as much as they can to reduce some of the impediments – bureaucratic impediments – to investments here,” US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters in Colombo. “To reduce corruption, to do everything they can to provide a transparent open environment in which American and other investments are encouraged.” US is Sri Lanka’s top buyer of exports, and has also invested in several sectors, mostly before the end of a 30-year war involving Tamil Tiger separatists. Blake was in Colombo to push for faster implementation of recommendations from a committee appointed by the Sri Lankan state to go into the island’s most recent civil war and recommend measures to reconcile ethnic differences and improve rule of law and justice. Sri Lankan citizens have taken up arms against the state three times since independence from British rule, the Sinhalese majority twice and the Tamil minority once. The US is also pushing for improved human rights for Sri Lankan citizens and accountability for alleged abuses in the last stages of the war, and progress on missing persons, Blake said. Blake was US ambassador to Colombo during the last stages of the war.