U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
SRI LANKA BACKGROUND NOTE
JANUARY 1995




Official Name:  Democratic Socialist Republic of  Sri Lanka

PROFILE
Geography
Area:  65,610 sq. km. (25,332 sq. mi.); about the size of West Virginia.  
Cities:  Capital--Colombo (pop. est. 1.3 million).  
Other cities-- Kandy (150,000), Jaffna (100,000), Galle (80,000).  
Terrain:  Coastal plains in the northern third of country; hills and 
mountains in south-central Sri Lanka rise to 2,133 m. (7,000 ft.).  
Climate:  Tropical.  Rainy seasons--light in northeast, fall and winter, 
with average rainfall of 50 in.; heavy in southwest, summer and fall, 
with average rainfall of 200 in. 

People
Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Sri Lankan(s).  
Population (1994):  18.1 million.  
Annual growth rate:  1.3%.  
Ethnic groups:  Sinhalese (74%), Tamils (18%), Muslims (7%), others 
(1%).  
Religions:  Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity.  
Languages:  Sinhala and Tamil (official), English.  
Education:  Years compulsory--to age 12.  Primary school attendance--
98%.  Literacy--88%.  
Health:  Infant mortality rate--19/1,000.  Life expectancy--73 yrs.  
Work Force:  6.8 million.

Government

Type:  Republic.  
Independence:  February 4, 1948.  
Constitution:  August 31, 1978.  
Suffrage:  Universal over 18.      
Branches:  Executive--president (chief of state and head of government), 
elected for a 6-year term.  Legislative--unicameral 225-member 
parliament.  Judicial--Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, High Court, 
subordinate courts.  
Administrative subdivisions:  Eight provinces and 25 administrative 
districts.      
Political parties:  United National Party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, 
others represented in either parliament or provincial councils, and 
several ethnic Tamil and Muslim parties.  
    
Economy (1994 estimates)

GDP:  $11 billion.  
Annual growth rate:  5.5%.  
Per capita GDP:  $600.  
Natural resources:  Limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphate.      
Agriculture (20% of GDP):  Major products--rice, tea, rubber, coconuts, 
spices.      
Industry (20% of GDP):  Major products-- garments, chemicals, refined 
petroleum, wood products, basic metal products, and paper products.      
Trade:  Exports--$3.1 billion; garments, tea, rubber, gems, refined 
petroleum, coconuts.  Major markets--U.S. ($1.2 billion), Germany, U.K., 
Belgium, Japan, Netherlands.  Imports--$4.4 billion.  Major suppliers--
Japan, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, U.K., Singapore, U.S. 
($200 million).     
Official exchange rate (Dec. 1994): 
Rupees (Rs.) 49=$1.  



PEOPLE

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (formerly known as 
Ceylon) is an island in the Indian Ocean approximately  28 kilometers 
(18 mi.) off the southeastern coast of India with a population of about 
17.4 million.  Density is highest in the southwest where Colombo, the 
country's capital, main port, and industrial center, is located.  The 
net population growth is about 1.3%.


Sri Lanka is ethnically, linguistically, and religiously diverse.  
Sinhalese make up 74% of the population and are concentrated in the 
densely populated southwest.  Ceylon Tamils, citizens whose South Indian 
ancestors have lived on the island for centuries, total about 12% and 
live predominantly in the north and east.  

Indian Tamils, a distinct ethnic group, represent about 6% of the 
population.  The British brought Indian Tamils to Sri Lanka in the 19th 
century as tea and rubber plantation workers and they remain 
concentrated in the "tea country" of south-central Sri Lanka.  In 
accordance with a 1964 agreement with India, Sri Lanka granted 
citizenship to 230,000 "stateless" Indian Tamils in 1988.  Under the 
pact, India granted citizenship to the remainder, some 200,000 of whom 
now live in India.  Another 92,000 Indian Tamils who themselves or whose 
parents once applied for Indian citizenship now wish to remain in Sri 
Lanka.  Although technically not citizens of Sri Lanka, the Government 
has stated that this group  will not be forced to return to India.

Other minorities include Muslims (both Moors and Malays), at about 7% of 
the population; Burghers, who are descendants of European colonists, 
principally from the Netherlands and the U.K.; and aboriginal Veddahs.      

Most Sinhalese are Buddhist; most Tamils are Hindu.  The majority of Sri 
Lanka's Muslims practice Sunni Islam.  Sizable minorities of both 
Sinhalese and Tamils are Christians, most of whom are Roman Catholic.  
The 1978 constitution, while assuring freedom of religion, grants 
primacy to Buddhism.      

Sinhala, an Indo-European language, is the native tongue of the 
Sinhalese.  Tamils and most Muslims speak Tamil, part of the South 
Indian Dravidian linguistic group.  Use of English has declined since 
independence, but it continues to be spoken by many in the middle and 
upper middle classes, particularly in Colombo.  Both Sinhala and Tamil 
are official languages.      


HISTORY

The actual origins of the Sinhalese are shrouded in myth.  Most believe 
that they came to Sri Lanka from northern India during the 6th century 
BC.  Buddhism arrived from the subcontinent 300 years later and spread 
rapidly.  Buddhism and a sophisticated system of irrigation became the 
pillars of classical Sinhalese civilization (200 BC-1200 AD) that 
flourished in the north-central part of the island.  Invasions from 
southern India, combined with internecine strife, pushed Sinhalese 
kingdoms southward. 

The island's contact with the outside world began early.  Roman sailors 
called the island Taprobane.  Arab traders knew it as "Serendip," the 
root of the word "serendipity."  Beginning in 1505, Portuguese traders, 
in search of cinnamon and other spices, seized the island's coastal 
areas and spread Catholicism.  The Dutch supplanted the Portuguese in 
1658.  Although the Dutch were ejected by the British in 1796, Dutch law 
remains an important part of Sri Lankan jurisprudence.  In 1815, the 
British defeated the king of Kandy, last of the native rulers, and 
created the Crown Colony of Ceylon.  They established a plantation 
economy based on tea, rubber, and coconuts.  In 1931, the British 
granted Ceylon limited self-rule and universal franchise.  Ceylon became 
independent on February 4, 1948.

Post-Independence Politics.  Sri Lankan politics since independence have 
been strongly democratic.  Two major parties, the United National Party 
(UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have generally alternated 
rule.  

The UNP ruled first from 1948-56 under three prime ministers--D.S. 
Senanayake, his son Dudley, and Sir John Kotelawala.  The SLFP ruled 
from 1956-65, with a short hiatus in 1960, first under S.W.R.D. 
Bandaranaike and then, after his assassination in 1959, under his widow, 
Sirima.  Dudley Senanayake and the UNP returned to power in 1965.      

In 1970, Mrs. Bandaranaike assumed the premiership.  A year later, an 
insurrection by followers of the Maoist "Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna" 
(JVP, or "People's Liberation Front") broke out.  The SLFP government 
suppressed the revolt and declared a state of emergency that would last 
six years.  In 1972, Mrs. Bandaranaike's Government introduced a new 
constitution, which changed the country's name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka, 
declared it a republic, made protection of Buddhism a constitutional 
principle, and created a weak president appointed by the prime minister.  
Its economic policies during this period were highly socialist and 
included the nationalization of large tea and rubber plantations.      

The UNP, under J.R. Jayewardene, returned to power in 1977.  The 
Jayewardene Government opened the economy and, in 1978, introduced a new 
constitution based on the French model,   a key element of which was the 
creation of a strong presidency. 
 
President Jayewardene was elected president by parliament in 1978 and by 
nationwide elections in 1982.  By a 1982 referendum, the life of 
parliament was extended by another six years.      

The UNP's Ranasinghe Premadasa, Prime Minister in the Jayewardene 
Government, narrowly defeated Mrs. Bandaranaike (SLFP) in the 1988 
presidential elections.  The UNP also won an absolute majority in the 
1989 parliamentary elections.  Mr. Premadasa was assassinated on May 1, 
1993, and was replaced by then-Prime Minister Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, 
who appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe to be Prime Minister.

The SLFP, the main party in the People´s Alliance (PA) coalition, 
returned to power in 1994 for the first time in 17 years.  The People's 
Alliance won a plurality in the August 1994 parliamentary elections and 
formed a coalition government with Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as 
Prime Minister.  Prime Minister Kumaratunga later won the November 1994 
presidential elections and appointed her mother (former Prime Minister 
Sirima Bandaranaike) to replace her as Prime Minister.

Communal Crisis.  Historical divisions continue to have an impact on Sri 
Lankan society and politics.  From independence, the Tamil minority has 
been uneasy with the country's unitary form of government and wary that 
the Sinhalese majority would abuse Tamil rights.  Those fears were 
reinforced when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike triumphed in the 1956 elections 
after appealing to Sinhalese nationalism.  Declaring Sinhala the 
country's official language--felt by Tamils to be a denigration of their 
own tongue--was the first in a series of steps over the following 
decades that appeared discriminatory to Tamils.      

The decades following 1956 saw intermittent outbreaks of communal 
violence and growing radicalization among Tamil groups.  By the mid-
1970s Tamil politicians were moving from support for federalism to a 
demand for a separate Tamil state--"Tamil Eelam"--in northern and 
eastern Sri Lanka.  In the 1977 elections, the separatist TULF won all 
seats in Tamil areas.  Other groups--particularly the "Liberation Tigers 
of Tamil Eelam" (LTTE)--sought an independent state by force.      

In 1983, the death of 13 Sinhalese soldiers at the hands of Tamil 
militants unleashed the largest outburst of communal violence in the 
country's history.  Hundreds of Tamils were killed in Colombo and 
elsewhere, tens of thousands were left homeless, and more than 100,000 
fled to South India.  Members of the TULF lost their seats in parliament 
when they refused to swear a loyalty oath.  The north and east became 
the scene of bloodshed as security forces attempted to suppress the LTTE 
and other militant groups.  Terrorist incidents occurred in Colombo and 
other cities.  Each side in the conflict accused the other of violating 
human rights.    The conflict assumed an international dimension when 
the Sri Lankan Government accused India of supporting Tamil insurgents.

Indian Peace-keeping.  By mid-1987, the situation had reached an 
apparent impasse.  In an attempt to break the deadlock, Sri Lanka 
brought India directly into its communal dispute.  Under a July 29, 
1987, accord signed by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President 
Jayewardene, the Sri Lankan Government made a number of concessions to 
Tamil demands, which included devolution of power to the provinces, 
merger (subject to later referendum) of the northern and eastern 
provinces, and official status for the Tamil language.  India agreed to 
establish order in the north and east with an Indian Peace-keeping Force 
(IPKF) and to cease assisting Tamil insurgents.  Militant groups, 
although initially reluctant, agreed to surrender their arms to the 
IPKF.

Within weeks, however, the LTTE declared its intent to continue its 
armed struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam and refused to surrender 
arms.  The 50,000-strong IPKF found itself engaged in a bloody police 
action against the LTTE.      

Meanwhile, the Government of Sri Lanka moved ahead with the promised 
devolution of power.  By late 1988, all eight provincial council 
elections had been held.  Further complicating the return to peace was a 
burgeoning Sinhalese insurgency in the south.  The JVP, relatively 
quiescent since the 1971 insurrection, began to reassert itself in 1987.  
Capitalizing on opposition to the Indo-Lankan accord in the Sinhalese 
community, the JVP launched an intimidation campaign against supporters 
of the accord.  Numerous UNP and other government supporters were 
assassinated.  The government, relieved of its security burden by the 
IPKF in the north and east, intensified its efforts in the south.  The 
JVP was crushed but at a high cost in human lives.      

From April 1989 through June 1990, the government engaged in direct 
communications with the LTTE leadership.  In the meantime, fighting 
between the LTTE and the IPKF had escalated in the north.  Finally,  
India withdrew all of its forces from Sri Lanka by May 1990, and 
fighting between the LTTE and the government recommenced.  Both  the 
LTTE and government forces have been accused of  serious human rights 
violations.  In January 1995, the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE 
agreed to a cessation of hostilities as a preliminary step in a 
government-initiated plan for peace negotiations.

Separatist violence is largely confined to the Northeastern province, 
which is 6 to 8 hours by road from the capital.  However, terrorist 
bombings directed against politicians and others have occurred in 
Colombo and elsewhere in the country.


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Sri Lanka's two major political parties--the UNP and the SLFP--embrace 
democratic values, international non-alignment, and encouragement of 
Sinhalese culture.  Past differences between the two on foreign and 
economic policy have narrowed.  The SLFP, however, still has a stronger 
social-welfare orientation than the UNP and still envisions a broader 
role for the state in governance in general.  

In the last general election, held August 15, 1994, Tamil parties, 
including the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), and the Eelam 
People's Democratic Front (EPDF), and a Muslim party, the Sri Lankan 
Muslim Congress (SLMC), won key swing votes in the parliament.

Political assassinations have become commonplace and have included the 
bomb killing of President Premadasa on May 1, 1993.  Other prominent 
national leaders and senior military personnel have been targets and/or 
victims of terrorist violence.  In April 1994, four bombs exploded at 
Colombo hotels and a group calling itself the "Ellalan Force" has 
threatened to target foreigners.   In October 1994, UNP presidential 
candidate Gamini Dissanayake and 53 UNP supporters were killed during an 
October campaign rally by a terrorist bombing.

The People's Alliance government, which was elected in 1994, entered 
into preliminary peace negotiations with LTTE in mid-October, but a 
second round of talks was canceled after the assassination of opposition 
leader Gamini Dissanayake.  In her November 1994 inaugural address, 
President Kumaratunga announced her intention to resume peace talks with 
the LTTE.  President Kumaratunga also said her government would propose 
constitutional changes which would shift powers from the presidency to 
the office of the prime minister.


GOVERNMENT

The president of the republic, directly elected for a 6-year term, is 
chief of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed 
forces.  Responsible to parliament for the exercise of duties under the 
constitution and laws, the president may be removed from office by a 
two-thirds vote of parliament with the concurrence of the Supreme Court.      

The president appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers responsible to 
parliament.  The president's deputy is the prime minister, who leads the 
ruling party in parliament.  A parliamentary no confidence vote requires 
dissolution of the cabinet and the appointment of a new one by the 
president.      

Parliament is a unicameral 225-member legislature elected by universal 
suffrage and proportional representation to a 6-year term.  The 
president may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve 
parliament.  Parliament reserves the power to make all laws.

Sri Lanka's judiciary consists of a supreme court, a court of appeals, a 
high court, and a number of subordinate courts.  Sri Lanka's legal 
system reflects diverse cultural influences.  Criminal law is 
fundamentally British.  Basic civil law is Roman-Dutch.  Laws pertaining 
to marriage, divorce, inheritance are communal.      

 Under the Indo-Sri Lankan accord of July 1987, the Government of Sri 
Lanka agreed to devolve significant authority to the provinces.  
Provincial councils are directly elected for 5-year terms.  The leader 
of the council majority serves as the province's chief minister; a 
provincial governor is appointed by the president.  Councils possess 
powers in education, health, rural development, social services, 
agriculture, security, and local taxation.  Many of these powers are 
shared, or subject to central government oversight.  Predating the 
accord are  municipal, urban, and rural councils with limited powers.

Principal Government Officials

President--Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
Prime Minister--Sirima Bandaranaike
Foreign Minister--Lakshman Kadirgamar
Ambassador--Designate to the United States--Jayantha Dhanapala
Ambassador to the United Nations--Dr. Stanley Kalpage

Sri Lanka maintains an embassy in the United States at 2148 Wyoming 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20008.   (Tel. 202-483-4025). 


ECONOMY

With an economy of about $11 billion a year, and per capita GDP of $600, 
Sri Lanka has been coping with a decade long civil insurgency.  In 1989, 
GDP growth fell to a low of 2%, but recovered and hit a high of 7% in 
1993.  With several rounds of local and national elections in 1994, 
growth fell to about 5.2%.  The forecast for 1995 is clouded, as the 
private sector awaits proof that the new government will deliver on its 
promises of creating an environment conducive to vigorous, private-
sector growth.  

The service sector is the largest component of GDP (50%), partly 
reflecting an extensive government apparatus and welfare state, but also 
including a rapidly growing tourism sector.  The booming industrial 
sector now accounts for 20% of GDP.  Garment manufacturing dominates 
industry.  

Agriculture, the traditional leading sector, contributes 20% of GDP and 
provides employment to about half the population.  Rice, the staple 
cereal, is cultivated extensively.  The plantation sector--tea, rubber, 
and coconut--also is a major employer and, until the recent growth of 
the textile industry,  provided the bulk of export earnings.

Since 1990, a successful new stock exchange has been founded; all 
exchange controls on current account transactions have been eliminated; 
and more than 40 state firms have been privatized.  Generous tax 
policies and other incentives have made Sri Lanka attractive to outside 
investors.  Direct foreign investment inflows were about $200 million in 
1994. The expectation is that investment inflows will continue to rise 
and that GDP growth should average 5% to 6% for the remainder of the 
decade.

Trade and Foreign Assistance.  Exports to the United States--Sri Lanka's 
single most important export market--were valued at over $1 billion in 
1994.  The U.S. was Sri Lanka's largest market for textiles in 1994, 
followed by Germany, UK, and Japan.  Japan was Sri Lanka's largest 
source of imports in 1994, followed by East and South Asian nations such 
as India and Hong Kong.  Imports from the U.S. amounted to about $200 
million in 1994. 

Sri Lanka is highly dependent on foreign assistance and has received 
about $500 million a year since 1990.  With the end of the JVP 
insurrection and a systematic decline in human rights abuses by the 
security forces, Western donor countries have increased support of Sri 
Lanka's economic liberalization programs.  Foreign assistance has been 
critical in the successful development of the large Mahaweli River Basin 
Project, privatization of state-run industry, development of the stock 
exchange, and the building of infrastructure.

Labor.  Perhaps one-quarter of Sri Lanka's 6.8 million labor force is 
unionized, with more than 1,300 registered unions and 10 federations.  
The largest labor group is the National Trade Union Conference.  Many 
unions are affiliated with political parties.  One of the largest unions 
is the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), which represents Indian Tamil 
workers on tea and rubber plantations.  It claims a membership of 
360,000.  Its president, S. Thondaman, is Minister of Livestock 
Development and Rural Industries.  The CWC's agenda includes political 
issues, such as citizenship status for stateless Indian Tamils.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Sri Lanka follows a nonaligned foreign policy.  It participates in 
multilateral diplomacy, particularly at the United Nations, where it 
seeks to promote sovereignty, independence, and development in the 
developing world.  Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Non-Aligned 
Movement and hosted its 1976 summit.  It also is a member of the 
Commonwealth, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation 
(SAARC), the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development 
Bank, and the Colombo Plan.  Sri Lanka continues its active 
participation in the Non-Aligned Movement, while also stressing the 
importance it places on regionalism by playing a strong role in SAARC.  

U.S.-SRI LANKAN RELATIONS

The United States enjoys cordial relations with Sri Lanka that are 
based, in large part, on shared democratic traditions.  U.S. policy 
toward Sri Lanka is characterized by respect for its independence, 
sovereignty, and moderate, non-aligned foreign policy; support for the 
country's unity, territorial integrity, and democratic institutions; and 
encouragement of its social and economic development.  

U.S. assistance has totaled more than $1.3 billion since Sri Lanka's 
independence in 1948.   Through the U.S.  Agency for International 
Development (USAID), it has contributed to Sri Lanka's economic growth 
with projects designed to reduce unemployment, improve housing, and 
develop the Colombo stock exchange.  In 1994, the U.S. delivered about 
$55 million in aid, including about $25 million in free wheat, $18 
million in low interest 40-year loans for additional wheat, and about 
$12 million in a variety of other direct assistance activities.

In addition, U.S. Peace Corps volunteers are active in much of Sri 
Lanka; the Voice of America operates a radio transmitter; and U.S. Naval 
vessels call regularly at Colombo.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Teresita C. Schaffer 
Deputy Chief of Mission--John Boardman
Political Counselor--Scott DeLisi
Economic Counselor--Nicholas Riegg 
Administrative Officer--Judy Chammas 
Consular Officer--Brian Oberle 
Defense Attache--Lt. Col. Carl Cockrum 
Director, AID Mission--David Cohen 
Counselor for Public Affairs (USIS)--Duncan MacInnes

The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka is located at 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3 
(tel: 94-1-448007, fax: 94-1-437345).  U.S. Agency for International 
Development offices are located at 356 Galle Road, Colombo 3 (tel: 94-1- 
574333; fax: 94-1-574264).  U.S. Information Service offices are located 
at 44 Galle Road, Colombo 3. (tel: 94-1-421271, fax: 94-1-449070).  
Peace Corps offices are located at 50/5 Siripa Road, Colombo 5 (tel: 94-
1-687617).  Voice of America offices are located at 228/1 Galle Road, 
Colombo 4 (tel: 94-1-589245, fax: 94-1-502675). 

FURTHER INFORMATION

The following are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. 
Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 37194, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954.  
To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax: (202) 512-2250.  

American University.  Area Handbook for Sri Lanka.

U.S. Department of Commerce.  "Sri Lanka."  Foreign Economic Trends and 
Their Implications for the United States.  Annual.  

U.S. Department of State.  U.S. Department of State Dispatch.  Weekly 
magazine.

U.S. Department of State.  Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts: Guide 
for Business Representatives.  Biannual.

CD-ROM and Internet

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC).  USFAC contains a wealth of 
foreign policy information released by the U.S. Department of State, 
1990-1994. Updated quarterly, USFAC is available from the Superintendent 
of Documents (see address under "Further Information" above).

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN).  Major reports, 
speeches, transcripts, and a variety of official U.S. Department of 
State publications are now available on a daily basis on the Internet.  

To access current foreign policy information, point your gopher client 
to:  dosfan.lib.uic.edu. 
The Universal Resource Locator (URL) for DOSFAN on the Internet is:  
gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/.  
On the World Wide Web, connect to the URL at: 
http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/dosfan.html.  

Travel Information

Travel advisory:  Continued fighting in the North and East and 
infrequent terrorist attacks elsewhere in Sri Lanka make it advisable 
for U.S. visitors to contact the Department of State before departure 
and the U.S. Embassy on arrival.  Petty street crime is common 
especially on crowded local transportation.  Travel advisories and other 
current travel information to Sri Lanka and other countries is available 
at no cost from the U.S. Department of State's Consular Information 
Program by telephone (202-647-5225) or by fax (202-647-3000).  Travel 
information is also on-line:  access the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board 
at (202) 647-9225 by modem with standard settings. 

Visas and customs:  A passport and onward/return ticket and proof funds 
($15 per day) are required.  A tourist visa is granted at entry and may 
be valid for up to 90 days.  Business travelers may be granted a landing 
endorsement at the port of entry for a one month period under certain 
circumstances.  Yellow fever and cholera immunizations are needed if 
arriving from an infected area.  Foreign currency, including travelers' 
checks, must be declared upon entry.  Visitors should keep currency 
exchange receipts.  On departure, they will be asked to show evidence of 
authorized exchange.

Health:  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, 
Georgia, has the latest information on health requirements and 
conditions in foreign countries.  Call the Hotline at (404) 332-4559 for 
telephonic or fax information.  Public health facilities in Sri Lanka 
are poor.  The U.S. embassy maintains a list of private physicians who 
may be consulted in emergency cases.  Medical supplies are scarce; bring 
any special drugs required.  Malaria is endemic outside Colombo.  
Outside the capital, malaria suppres-sants are required.  Avoid drinking 
unboiled water. Avoid unpeeled, raw fruits and vegetables or under-
cooked meats.  

Telecommunications:  Domestic telephone service is fair. Long distance 
service is good and may be booked through an operator in advance.  
International direct-dialing is available from most major hotels.  
Telegraph, cable, and fax services are good and available 24 hours a day 
in Colombo and other larger towns.  International airmail service to the 
United States takes about 2 weeks.  Sri Lanka is 10-1/2 hours ahead of 
Eastern Standard Time.

Tourism:  Tourists enjoy Sri Lanka's wonderful beaches and interesting 
archeological sites.  Contact the Embassy of Sri Lanka (see page 5) or 
your travel agent for more details.  (###)

Published by the United States Department 
of State -- Bureau of Public Affairs  -- Office of  Public Communication 
-- Washington, DC -- 0000  Editor:  Deborah Guido-O'Grady with Dan 
Lawton, Office of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Bureau of South Asian 
Affairs.

Department of State Publication 
Background Notes Series--This material is 
in the public domain and may  be reprinted
without permission; citation of this source
is appreciated.

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing 
Office, Washington, DC  20402.
(###)


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