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
"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.