|Tuesday, 12 February 2013 19:29|
Independence Day Message of Hon. Minister of External Affairs
Today, we celebrate Sri Lanka’s 65th National Day with the realization of a sustainable peace supplemented by comprehensive economic and social development programmes benefiting the people in all parts of our motherland.
The Government under the visionary leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to strengthen the extensive socioeconomic development process that envisages the betterment of its peoples while achieving an 8% annual growth rate since the eradication of separatist terrorism from the island. Large scale infrastructure projects with newly built roads, air and sea ports amply demonstrate the robust economic agenda of Sri Lanka.
Being mindful of the welfare of its people and giving priority to alleviating poverty and achieving social equity in the country, the Government has launched the Divi Neguma programme encompassing livelihood development activities to, inter alia, ensure food security for each individual and family; to improve the living standards of people; to mobilize and empower people for national development; to upgrade physical and social infrastructure facilities; and to create a social security network for those who are in need of economic upliftment.
In its efforts on reconciliation, the Government is progressing steadily in implementing the National Action Plan emanating from the recommendations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report. This transparent and vibrant process is being further enriched by a substantial resource allocation from the Government.
The key challenges relating to Sri Lanka’s national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and economic and cultural diplomacy, as enunciated in the “Mahinda Chinthana: The Vision for Future,” continue to be high priorities of the Ministry of External Affairs. Vigorously pursuing a “Non-Aligned Foreign Policy,” the Ministry of External Affairs continues to consolidate Sri Lanka’s friendship with the international community by expanding its diplomatic outreach with the assistance of our Missions abroad. The record number of high level visits to Sri Lanka in the recent past has yielded tangible results including projects relating to infrastructure development and the enhancement of tourism, trade and direct investment benefitting our people. Notwithstanding the many challenges the country experienced in the recent past, the resilience shown by the Sri Lankan economy and the confidence the country commands in the international community are remarkable.
The expatriate Sri Lankan community plays an important role in contributing to the development of the Sri Lankan economy, enhancing the country's image abroad and promoting its culture. On this auspicious occasion of our National Day, I extend my sincere gratitude to the overseas Sri Lankan community for contributing immensely to these endeavours. We as Sri Lankans, while renewing our commitment to safeguarding the hard-earned peace, must redouble our efforts to achieving economic prosperity for all persons in our beloved motherland.