Britain accords warm welcome to President
Rajapaksa(extreme right) with other heads of state, while
visiting Britain for the Queen's Diamond Jubileee
celebration. Pic by Sudath Silva
He is brave. There is no need for any extra effort to prove his
bravery as there are many brave moves throughout his political career.
Not only is he brave but also courageous and known to be a man who makes
the impossible possible. When it comes to his motherland... he is the
first to defend her. When it comes to acting against forces that are
against Sri Lanka, no one can stop him from facing any situation despite
threats to his life.
It was in the middle of last week that President Mahinda Rajapaksa
stood before Sri Lankans who gathered opposite the Hilton hotel in Park
Lane, showing his gratitude to them and his love for Sri Lanka. At a
time when pro-LTTE Tamils were staging protests carrying LTTE flags and
demanding the arrest of a President on alleged war crime charges during
the end battle in 2009, he ignored the advice of Scotland Yard of 'not
to go out' and met his countrymen to reiterate his commitment to the
Either the advice of the Police about the violent nature of the
pro-LTTE protest, nor the cold weather could prevent him from speaking
to Sri Lankans in favour of Sri Lanka and the President.
Speaking to Sri Lankans gathered opposite the hotel where he stayed
during his visit to attend the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth he
said he was prepared to make any sacrifice for the sake of the future
Thanking the people, President Rajapaksa said their protest in favour
of the country was a huge strength to him. " I will never allow any
power or force to snatch away the hard won peace and freedom. I am
prepared to make any sacrifice on behalf of the future generations to
transform Sri Lanka into a super country and a force to reckon within
the international arena", his statement gave strength to almost all
expariates in Britain.
A Sri Lankan living in Britain on condition of anonymity said he
didn't expect President Rajapaksa to come forward at such a crucial
time, when pro-LTTE Tamils were staging protests.
"We were surprised when he came and spoke to us. It gave us courage
and discouraged pro-LTTE Tamils voicing displeasure over his tour", he
However, the chain of protests by the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora has
influenced organisers to cancel President Rajapaksa's keynote address in
the morning session of the Commonwealth Economic Forum.
A press release issued by the President’s Media Division said members
of the LTTE and their sympathisers in London carrying placards depicting
false propaganda against Sri Lanka made a vain attempt to portray
President Rajapaksa’s tour of London as an unsuccessful one as they did
during his previous London visit, But he and First Lady Shiranthi
Rajapaksa attended the lunch with Commonwealth heads of State at the
Blenheim Saloon inside Marlborough House in Central London held in
honour of the Queen.
They were greeted by the Queen and she spent a brief moment with the
Sri Lankan leader exchanging pleasantries. Hundreds of pro-LTTE Tamils
gathered outside Marlborough House protesting Sri Lankan President's
presence at the lunch.
President Rajapaksa met the British Prime Minister David Cameron
during a reception hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh
Sharma. The President apprised the British Prime Minister of the current
situation in Sri Lanka and the progress made in the development of
former conflict areas.
Commonwealth Secretary General
During the reception he also met several British parliamentarians and
the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma.
At the meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, President
Rajapaksa has briefed him on the current situation in Sri Lanka and the
progress of development in the country. The Commonwealth
Secretary-General has assured his support on behalf of the all
Commonwealth nations for the President's endeavour to rebuild the
The President and the First Lady had also participated in a special
thanksgiving service held as part of the Queen's jubilee celebrations at
the St. Pauls Cathedral in London.
According to the Asian Tribune quoted Nirj Deva, Deputy Lord
Lieutenant and also the Member of the European Parliament, who he met
the President in London on June 5 said he saw him happy and in a good
He said that the Sri Lankan President enjoyed himself. He was
received warmly by the establishment. He was in the box seat and watched
the concert. He had lunch with the Queen. He was also there at the
church service at St. Paul's. He was treated warmly as a Head of a
“It was a happy visit for Sri Lanka President on the occasion of
Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Relationship between Sri Lanka and
Britain are getting closer said Nirj Deva.
After participating in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations
President Rajapaksa flew to Rome. There he attended Poson celebrations
held at the FAO Headquarters in Rome on June 7 as the special guest. The
event was attended by the Chief Buddhist monk in Italy, Director General
of FAO José Graziano da Silva, the diplomatic community and Buddhists
living in Rome.
Buddhists in Rome extended a warm welcome to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa who is a widely accepted Buddhist leader in the world.
Ambassador to Thailand in Rome Surapit Kiriputra in his speech made
special mention of President Rajapaksa's recent visit to Thailand to
attend the 2600th Sambuddathva Jayanthi celebrations and the speech
delivered by the President on Buddhism.
Rome Buddhist Vihara
Venerable Molligoda Dheerananda Thera, Chief Incumbent of the Rome
Buddhist Vihara said it was a significant day that Vesak was celebrated
in Rome since it coincided with President's 42nd anniversary of entering
parliament. The monks wished the President well and chanted Jaya Piritha
to invoke blessings for the President.
Earlier, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was received by the Director
General of FAO Jose Graziano da Silva at the FAO Head Quarters. A brief
meeting was held between President Rajapaksa and his delegation and the
FAO Director General.
Bishop Gino Reali hosted a dinner in honour of President Rajapaksa.
Speaking about developments currently taking place in Sri Lanka,
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith thanked President Rajapaksa for making Sri
Lanka free of terrorism. " We breath freely and live fear free lives,
thanks to the President. He has created history in Sri Lanka by bringing
in peace. He has done so much for Sri Lanka".
"It is not an easy task for the President. But, he is courageous. He
will take risks to build a new Sri Lanka. Be courageous in the choices
you make. I am sure if you proceed like that you will succeed even more.
We will support you", the Cardinal said.