23 September 2010 Sri Lanka is ready to boost its participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the General Assembly today, also calling on the world community to take urgent action to counter climate change and devote greater aid to Africa.
At the same time he recalled his country’s defeat last year of Tamil separatist rebels – “one of the most brutal, highly organized, well funded and effective terrorist organizations” – and stressed that Sri Lanka’s healing must evolve from within since “imposed external solutions” breed resentment and ultimately fail.
“Leaders who have been chosen by their people often face difficult decisions,” he said. “They must be entitled to the goodwill and confidence of the international community with regard to the heavy burdens they are required to shoulder. The results of their decisions must be evaluated objectively and must be allowed to speak for themselves.
“That is not to say countries should operate in isolation. In this globally inter-dependent world, we must work together where we can and constructively counsel each other where appropriate. The United Nations forms the bedrock of this interaction and in this role it will always receive the support of Sri Lanka.”
Earlier this year Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a panel of experts to advise him on accountability issues relating to alleged human rights violations during the final stages of the Sri Lanka conflict in accordance with a commitment on accountability made in a joint statement issued with Mr. Rajapaksa on a visit the island country in May 2009.
The conflict, which had raged on and off for nearly three decades and killed thousands of people, ended with large numbers of Sri Lankans living as internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially in the north of the country.
Today Mr. Rajapaksa said 90 per cent of the IDPs had returned to their original villages, now cleared of landmines, and had been provided with the essential infrastructure necessary to resume normal lives.
“Over the past year, much has been reported and much has been said regarding my country’s liberation from terrorism,” he declared. “However, far less has been said of the suffering we had to undergo and the true nature of the enemy we have overcome…
“The asymmetrical nature of conflicts initiated by non-State actors gives rise to serious problems which need to be considered in earnest by the international community.”
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