Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has assured the world leaders in New York that his government has taken every possible step to stop the island nation returning to war again.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Sirisena also reiterated his commitment to achieve national reconciliation to establish lasting peace after thirty years of bloody war.
“We have taken all effective measures to strengthen democracy, freedom, good governance and rule of law in the country. I can happily assure you that while strengthening national reconciliation through this positive transformation, we have by now taken every possible step to prevent my country returning to war,” Sirisena said.
This is his second address to the UNSG since January 2015. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Skills Development Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and Deputy Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith P. Perera accompanied the President to the 71 st UNGA.
A notable face among the Sri Lankan state delegation at the UNGA was Sinhala nationalist editor Gamini Sumanasekara, whose Sunday Divaina, newspaper was publicly slammed by President Sirisena few months ago for trying to whip up racism and scuttle the process of national reconciliation.
“As a country which has faced barbaric terrorism and effects for thirty years, we have basically strengthened the process of national reconciliation among the different communities and taken all measures to ensure that the country will not return to war under any circumstance,” President Sirisena said in his native Sinhala language.
The Sri Lankan leader repeatedly requested support of the international community “to successfully face these challenges” and post-war economic development.
“We want to create a better country for our people. To achieve these, I need the assistance of the international community…. I want to create a country, in which our people can live as better humans and I need your support and blessings for this endeavour,” President Sirisena said.
As different countries have their own unique authentic thinking, he said Sri Lanka “too have such indigenous thinking and visions that go in parallel with our international obligations”.
“I want to create a country, in which our people can live as better humans and I need your support for this endeavour,” he said, stressing the importance of maintaining the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan President also reiterated his commitment to eradicate the menace of drugs, describing it as “most serious challenge faced by our societies today”.
“Unless we take early steps to stop the menace of drugs we will be faced with a catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude. The harm caused to the people, especially among young students by illicit drugs is very serious,” he said.