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The time has now come to restore the respect and dignity Sri Lanka once commanded – Foreign Minister

On the 67th anniversary of independence, Sri Lanka, one of the oldest democracies in Asia has, in the face of many challenges, again proved its commitment to freedom and democracy through yet another peaceful transition of power.

Unlike in the Arab Spring where change was brought about by bullets, pellets and stones Sri Lanka’s ‘rainbow revolution’ was achieved by power of the ballot — paving the way for far-reaching constitutional reforms that will make Sri Lanka a modern 21st century democracy.

Sri Lanka‘s civil war ended six years ago. The challenge now is to win the hearts and minds of all Sri Lankans and create a Sri Lankan identity based on the cultural diversity of its people. If Sri Lanka is to harness its true economic potential, it must meet the aspirations of all its different communities to live in ethnic harmony, religious tolerance and in a free and democratic society.

We must take this opportunity to ensure a just society where the rule of law prevails and no one is above the law. Sri Lanka, despite its modest means and even smaller size, has always played an important role on the world stage. The time has now come to restore the respect and dignity Sri Lanka once commanded.

Sri Lanka must harness this goodwill for the betterment of her people. All Sri Lankans, both on the island and abroad, must bury their differences and create a new Sri Lanka, which will meet the hopes and aspirations of our people.

On the occasion of our National Day let us all collectively re-dedicate ourselves to building a new multicultural Sri Lanka where freedom, equality and justice prevail for all.

Mangala Samaraweera. M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs

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