U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet flagship arrives in Sri Lanka to further strengthen ties

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The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship "USS Blue Ridge" arrived in the Colombo Port on Saturday in order to further strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Sri Lanka.

The U.S. Embassy in Colombo in a statement said that the visit is the first by a U.S. Navy ship since October 2011 and builds upon last month's Partnership Dialogue in Washington D.C., where both nations pledged to strengthen maritime security cooperation efforts in the Indian Ocean Region in order to counter piracy, provide humanitarian assistance and ensure free and safe navigation in the region's vital shipping lanes.

"A strong relationship between United States and Sri Lanka will help foster greater stability, security, prosperity and a rules-based order for the Indo-Pacific region and around the world,"U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap said.

"This U.S. Navy ship visit demonstrates the U.S. commitment to partners such as Sri Lanka."

The Blue Ridge team consists of more than 900 sailors, who will interact with their Sri Lanka Navy counterparts, experience Sri Lanka's vibrant culture, and engage with its people.

The sailors will also use their shore leave to volunteer at a community center in Sri Lanka by refurbishing its walls and furniture, building playground equipment and serving food to the needy. Endit

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