|Sri Lanka is free of Terrorism – Action underway for a political solution, President Rajapaksa|
|Saturday, 16 May 2009 12:32|
'I'll return to a country free of terrorism' says President Rajapaksa
"Many in the world believed that the LTTE is invincible, but, I am proud to announce at this august gathering that my government with the total commitment of our Armed Forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE militarily. I will be going back to a country that has been totally freed from the barbaric acts of the LTTE. This freedom comes after 30 long years", he further asserted.
Full text of the President's address at the G-11 Summit on 16th May, 2009.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset let me thank His Majesty King Abdullah the Second and the Government of Jordan for the warm hospitality accorded to me and my delegation. I must also say how pleased I am about the firm stand taken by His Majesty and his government in relation to the State of Palestine. It is heartening to note that peace and development in the Middle Eastern region is becoming a priority.
I am happy to observe that the G11 has made significant progress since its beginning. As the world's only grouping of lower middle income countries, it has succeeded in becoming a global partnership to address our common challenges.
We need targeted help from the industrialized countries to achieve our developmental goals. But at the same time we need to safeguard our own space, to apply creative and homegrown methods in achieving our growth targets. Any reforms need to be adjusted to our needs on the ground, and be implemented at our own pace.
The Ten Year Development Policy Framework of my government, 'Mahinda Chinthana', envisages addressing global challenges with homegrown solutions. Our approach integrates the positive attributes of market economic policies with our own domestic aspirations. It focuses on developing the rural economy, supporting domestic enterprise including the SME sector, safeguarding our agriculture, achieving food security, while encouraging an export economy driven by the private sector.
However, we must recognize that we cannot achieve economic prosperity by ourselves. We need facilitated access to industrialized markets. We need to diversify our export bases from traditional to value-added products. We need greater flows of FDI. We need cutting edge technology and research and development capability. We also need assistance to develop our infrastructure.
These needs can only be attained with the support of the industrialised world. It is indeed timely that we have acknowledged this and have thus built a partnership with the global north, in the form of our dialogue with the G8. I look forward to the further consolidation of this partnership to foster bridges of future cooperation.
All this, Excellencies, we need to place in the context of the global economy which today is undergoing an enormous crisis, as never before. The impact of the crisis on our developing economies dependent on industrialized markets may be devastating.
There is no single formula to address this crisis. It is no longer sufficient to look at north-south cooperation or advocate sound monetary policies and good governance as the way out of the crisis. Indeed, we need the help of our developed partners. But we also need to strengthen south-south cooperation through new and innovative means. I am hopeful that the G11 Framework Agreement signed by our Ministers today will pave the way for the consolidation of such cooperation.
Excellencies, the misery brought upon my country by 'the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world' has little parallel elsewhere. During the last thirty years, the LTTE have massacred tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and also targeted our economy in the belief that destroying our economy will ensure achieving of its evil goals. Having resorted to most ruthless means of destroying human life, the LTTE, through its malicious propaganda machinery, have projected itself as a liberation movement. The world at large must not be deceived by its distorted propaganda.
Many in the world believed that the LTTE is invincible, but, I am proud to announce at this august gathering that my government with the total commitment of our Armed Forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE militarily. I will be going back to a country that has been totally freed from the barbaric acts of the LTTE. This freedom comes after 30 long years. My government's precise and well coordinated humanitarian operation has so far succeeded in rescuing over 210,000 civilians who were being used as human shields by the LTTE.
The defeat of the LTTE on the ground heralds a new era in Sri Lanka. It provides all Sri Lankans with a brand new opportunity for peace and development. The liberation of regions hitherto controlled by the LTTE, which amounted to a fourth of Sri Lanka's land mass, paves the way for democracy to root itself and development to march ahead after decades of conflict. Efforts are already underway to complement the humanitarian mission with a political solution.
History has taught us that solutions externally prescribed, with little understanding of the complexity of the problem on the ground, are prone to failure. My government is therefore firmly committed to seeking a homegrown solution acceptable to all communities living in Sri Lanka.
Terrorism is a mutating menace. Old theories on counter-terrorism need to be constantly modified to effectively combat modern day terrorism. Despite the LTTE's defeat on the ground, it could well continue to sustain itself overseas. Our timely action must therefore ensure that the LTTE and other like-minded terrorist groups do not continue to circumvent the law by indulging in illegal operations, through various front organizations located overseas.
Developed and developing countries must recognize this fact and continue to support each other to eliminate terrorism from the face of this earth. We leaders must not leave this menace to torment our children and the future generations. Terrorism in all its forms must be eliminated and not allow it to destroy the democratic and peaceful way of life of all our people. It is worthwhile reminding ourselves over and over again that there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists. Terrorism anywhere is terrorism and should be treated in the manner it deserves.
In this context, I wish to mention that the UN and its affiliated organizations should understand the suffering of the people in countries affected by terrorism and pro-actively support legitimately elected governments to eradicate this menace. Pressure to contain military operations when terrorism is being eliminated can be very frustrating as terrorists through such interventions will get another lease of life. Countries that are successfully progressing to eliminate terrorism must be encouraged through assistance for purposes of development by international lending institutions without being 'put on hold'.
I am happy to observe that the need to combat terrorism comprises an important element of the G11 White Paper. We must work closely with the G8 to have co-ordinated and concerted global action in combating terrorism in all its manifestations. Enactment of appropriate legislation and intelligence sharing must comprise the core of this exercise.
Excellencies, we embarked nearly three years ago on the G-11 venture, driven by a sense of idealism. Some of our goals have been realized, while others remain. It is by collective effort and dedication that all our objectives could be achieved, for ultimately, our peoples would be the greatest beneficiaries. We could do no less.