|"The LTTE continued its terror through talks, ceasefires" - President|
|Tuesday, 15 July 2008|
Lord Malloch-Brown, the British foreign office minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations, met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning (15).
The Minister told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka had achieved something remarkable and impressive in establishing a process for the resolution of human rights issues. The International Community would like to help Sri Lanka as she makes progress along the lines intimated by the President, he added.
The President emphasised that the country had succeeded in defeating terrorism and establishing democracy in the East. He stressed the need for developing the region in order to send a salutary message to the people in the North. Explaining the Government's overall moves towards the rehabilitation of those once engaged in terrorism, he pointed out that the present Chief Minister of the Eastern Province was once a child soldier of the LTTE.
The President said that many people who genuinely wanted to see change in this country did not understand the ground realities of internal politics and related pressures. Problems existed and solutions had to be political, while the final endorsement would have to be given by the people in elections. There were now signs that the people were backing the changes that the Government was initiating, and this was best seen in the complete defeat suffered by those who pushed for a general strike last week, he added.
Lord Malloch-Brown declared that there was room for much optimism considering the actions taken by the Government to implement the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, as well as the changes initiated in the East. However, it appeared that more action was needed to achieve the full results and benefits of the Government's moves.
The President said that the liberation of the East was completed on July 19, 2007 and, in less a year, democracy had been restored there. Change will come, he added, but it takes time.
Commenting on the Government's moves to eradicate terrorism, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that it was necessary to defeat the LTTE, given that it had continued its war of terror through talks, ceasefires and many other peace initiatives. Lord Malloch-Brown, explaining to the President the British Government's policy of acting against terrorism, informed him that there were six pending cases with regard to illegal support for terrorist organisations and these would send a strong message to all concerned.
The necessity of having a strong institutional arrangement to safeguard human rights was shared by the President and the Minister, while the President presented the case for a better understanding of the constraints that prevailed in establishing such machinery just now, although this was the clear intent of the Government.
On the subject of child soldiers, the British High Commissioner said that the Government had taken a very laudable step in allowing free access to the camps where former child soldiers were being kept. The President said that those genuinely interested were free to carry out their own inquiries into the number of child soldiers still present, but strongly doubted whether those making allegations on these matters would give the full details to help with official inquiries, which the Government was ready to support.
Lord Malloch Brown was accompanied by the British High Commissioner Peter Hayes, while the President was accompanied by Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(Courtesy : Department of Information )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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