UK, France tried to interfere – Gota

Sri Lanka’s powerful defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says Britain and France attempted to influence President Mahinda Rajapaksa into suspending the war in 2009, but that attempt had failed.

The defence secretary was quoted in the Defence Ministry website as saying that as a result of the President’s firm resolve and unswerving commitment, western pressure was resisted and the final objective was achieved.

“During the last stages of the war, when certain western governments with vested interests tried to intervene and halt the progress of the military, the firm resolve and commitment of the leadership was very clear to see. The President, as Commander in Chief was the only person who could call and end to the war. He held firm in the face of immense pressure. The French Foreign Minister and the British Foreign Secretary even came to Sri Lanka to try and influence him to change his mind. Despite this last minute interference, the President did not waver,” Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

He noted that during the entire war effort, all those in Sri Lanka’s leadership positions were highly motivated because they knew beyond a doubt that eradicating terrorism was the only way to create a better future for the people of Sri Lanka.

“There was never any doubt about the grave challenges we would face along the way, nor was there any doubt about the threats there would be to our lives. However, despite these threats, we persisted because we knew that what we were doing was correct, and would ultimately benefit all Sri Lankans,” he added.