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Sunday, 15 November 2009

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Defence Secretary advocates reconciliation and development

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday called on all patriotic Sri Lankans to get together, putting their differences aside, and work towards the resurgence of the nation to reap the rewards of peace as one people.

"This is our duty to our motherland, and we must not let her down", the Defence Secretary said in his concluding remarks after delivering the Olcott oration, under the theme 'future challenges facing Sri Lanka: Security, Reconciliation and Development.'

"The true victory against terrorism is not just the defeat of the LTTE, but reaping the true rewards of peace by recapturing what was lost during the conflict".

"Making maximum use of peace to unite as a nation, to bring about the development and prosperity that this country richly deserves, and to reap the rewards of peace is the responsibility of all our citizens", the Defence Secretary added.

He said for these things to happen, it is essential that we all unite at this pivotal stage in our history, and speak with one voice to say that the uncertainty is no more, to say that we are safe;to say that we are ready to create a bright and prosperous future for all our people, irrespective of race, religion or politics.

He said instead of falling into the trap of complacency, petty rivalry and divisive politics that have so often been our downfall, we must unite as a nation and build a better future together.

"It is only then that the true reward of our victory over terrorism will be fully realised", he said.

He said the consolidating the peace, reconciliation of communities and the economic revival must be the focus of the country from now on.

He pointed out that although the LTTE has been defeated it was important to note that it was mainly the military wing that has been dismantled and its international network of sympathizers and criminal associates, and some of their military cadres are still operating outside Sri Lanka.

"It is only these elements have also been defeated that we can claim to have truly secured our nation. To prevent the LTTE raising its head again, we should act now and act decisively to bring about their defeat", Rajapaksa added.

Pointing out that the Government has taken several initiatives in this regard such as strengthening relationships with key nations to destroy the LTTE international network, the Defence Secretary added that there is still more to be done, and developing these relationship even further will be vital to Sri Lanka's efforts to permanently dismantle the LTTEs' international network.

Emphasizing the need to countering the propaganda offensives still being launched by LTTE sympathizers around the world distorting the view some countries have on Sri Lanka, he said that it was essential that the West understands that Sri Lanka's war against terrorism is little different from theirs.

"Instead of accepting the propaganda offensive of terrorist sympathizers in their corridors of power, the countries that are still mounting pressure on Sri Lanka should understand that we all face similar challenges. Instead of criticizing our success, they should learn from it", he added

Emphasizing the fact that the Government has taken initiative to bring normalcy to the liberated areas, resettlement and the return of democracy the Defence Secretary said that some of those looking at the present situation in Sri Lanka are quick to criticize the Government for not acting quick enough.

"They expect changes to happen overnight, and they ignore the hard facts of reality that have always shown us that true change is only possible with wise planning, diligence, hard work and time", he added.

He sited the developments in the Eastern province after it was liberated from the clutches of the LTTE as a example where Government achieve all development, de-militarisation, disarm of para military groups.

"We are confident that the same result can be obtained in the North, and that reconciliation and national unity will be achieved in due course", he said.

 

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