Help resolve problems sans undue influence

President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. This was his third address to the UNGA since becoming President in 2015. Picture by Sudath Silva

President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday urged the International Community to give room for Sri Lankans themselves to resolve the problems facing the country without any undue foreign influence.

“Look at Sri Lanka from a fresh perspective and consider the tremendous progress made by the Government towards reconciliation, restoration of democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law and extend your fullest support to build a progressive, democratic, free and equal society in Sri Lanka,” President Sirisena told world leaders at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“As an independent country we do not want any foreign power to exert influence on us. Sri Lanka is taking action to consolidate peace and forge ahead to develop the economy, and deserves the support and understanding of the international community. We want to appeal to the international community that the right of the Sri Lankan people to find solutions to their problems should be respected,” the President said.

The President stated that the Government was committed to work tirelessly to achieving reconciliation by fostering understanding among all ethnic groups, while eliminating mutual suspicion and hatred in order to create a society where all can live harmoniously. “My government is committed to creating a fair and just society by strengthening the rule of law,” he said.

He recalled that during the last three and a half years, the Government has taken several important steps to consolidate vital pillars such as democracy, freedom, good governance, media freedom and independence of the judiciary. “Through such transformative steps, we have laid the foundation to forge national reconciliation, communal harmony and ensure non-recurrence of conflict in our country.”

“As a country that has suffered from violent conflict for 30 years, we are drawing from experience and lessons learned to strengthen national reconciliation, and are determined to prevent the recurrence of conflict. We have given priority in this context to consolidate freedom and democracy in our country, and through a strong foundation of national reconciliation forged through unity and friendship among communities,” the President said.

He said that the Government is working to eliminate fear and suspicion among different communities.

Quoting from the Buddha’s preaching in the Sallasutta of Samyuktha Nikaye in Thripitaka, he said if a man is pierced with a dart, he will suffer physical pain. When he worries about it, he suffers more pain. Hence, there are two kinds of pains suffered by the man. When it comes to Sri Lanka, it is the people who suffered pain due to war and they continue to feel pain when they think about it. “Therefore, I take this opportunity to call upon your support and cooperation,” he added.

President Sirisena pointed out that the most ruthless terrorists were defeated by the Armed Forces and the nation honours the valiant soldiers who made many sacrifices to bring peace to the country and safeguard the unity and sovereignty of the nation with utmost commitment. Full text on page 08

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