America's new diplomatic envoy to Sri Lanka presents credential
The new United States ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison, an expert on Sri Lankan affairs and issues, presented her credential to Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday at Colombo's presidential secretariat.
Her presentation of credential coincided with US assistant secretary Robert Blake's visit to the Island to further push the Sri Lanka government toward accountability and transparency of the incidents that occurred during the final months of the battle with the Tamil Tigers in the year 2009.
Ms. Sison accompanied Mr. Blake to all the official meeting the latter had with top Sri Lankan officials September 12-14. Ms. Sison was no stranger to Sri Lankan issues as she associated with then deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage at the turn of this century to address the volatile situation that led to a US-Norwegian backed Ceasefire Agreement with the Tigers in 2002 during Ranil Wickremasinghe led government.
The present external affairs minister G.L. Pieris played a major role in the ceasefire and negotiations with the Tamil Tigers, and Ms. Sison a mid-level carrier foreign service office attached to the south and central affairs bureau of the US State Department associated with all the deliberations initiated by Mr. Armitage.
On Friday, when Ms. Sison presented her credentials to President Rajapaksa she did that with full knowledge of Sri Lanka's issues starting with the ceasefire to this year's US-sponsored resolution at Geneva.
She has vowed to engage with the 'civil society' to push human rights, accountability and transparency'.
Michele J. Sison, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 29, 2012 as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives. Ambassador Sison previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon (2008-2010), U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (2004-2008), and Assistant Chief of Mission in Baghdad, Iraq (2011-2012).
Her earlier assignments include service as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs (2002-2004); Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad, Pakistan (1999-2002); Consul General/Principal Officer in Chennai, India (1996-1999); Consul General/Principal Officer in Douala, Cameroon; and tours in Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Togo, and Haiti. Sison also served as the State Department's Director of Career Development and Assignments (2010-2011). She is the recipient of numerous State Department awards as well as the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and the U.S. Department of the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.
Ambassador Sison, who was born in Virginia, earned her B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College. She is the mother of two daughters.
- Asian Tribune -