Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the 20th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies in Geneva that the Government wants to make Sri Lanka a post-conflict democratic success story and looks forward to international support in this endeavour.
“The Government of Sri Lanka has no doubt that as the necessary political and economic reforms take place, investment and trade and ultimately jobs, growth and economic development will follow. But as the relationship between peace and development is holistic and dynamic, the faster the peace dividend the greater and faster the likelihood and durability of peace. In a nutshell, the people’s purses must feel the benefits of reconciliation, peace and ethnic harmony. And they must feel them fast,” he said.
He said that with the demise of the LTTE, no one in Sri Lanka believes that violence is a solution to Sri Lanka’s problems and the desire for peace and the desire to ensure non-recurrence is clear.
“The National Unity Government therefore, is focused on fostering a national consensus around the “never again” principle which everyone in our country relates to. Making use of this historic opportunity, the Government is taking steps towards achieving the twin objectives of ‘reconciliation and development’. We realise well that it is not possible to achieve one without the other,” he said.
The Minister also noted that Sri Lanka is in the process of repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act and introducing new counter-terrorism legislation that is in line with contemporary international best practices.
He said that the Community of Democracies must find ways and means of standing together to assist each other in times of peril, especially when faced by terrorism which threatens the fundamentals on which democracy is based. (Colombo Gazette)