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Sunday, 15 May 2011

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We will send appropriate reply for UN Report

The controversial and biased panel report of the United Nations Secretary General, which make false allegations against the Sri Lankan government and its Security Forces was criticised internationally even in fora such as the recent EU debate. People here and abroad are waiting to see the government’s response to the blatant ‘lies’ in the report, which depended completely on unauthenticated sources.


President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in a religious ceremony organised by Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo on Friday. Similar religious ceremonies were organised in schools islandwide to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi.

The government, which annihilated the 30-year-old scourge, LTTE terrorism- in a well-designed military and rescue strategy, will reply in the same manner to UNSG Ban-ki-Moon, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Mahinda Rajapaksa said last week.

Biased document

‘‘We will reply to the United Nations Secretary General in an appropriate manner’’, he said adding that the Darusman Report on accountability during the final stages of the during the operation to destroy the LTTE terrorism, is a biased document that has accused Sri Lankan government and the military with false allegations.

The President said that he would expose these false allegations and protect the image of the country.

He said the government would not rush to reply the Darusman Report which was hasitly produced with highly questionable facts and figures. ‘Sri Lanka would not take it lightly because it is necessary to expose the truth as the report is full of allegations. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the image of the country. The Report was based on unverified and unauthenticated facts. There are enough reliable sources within the UN system and several other international agencies associated with the government during the humanitarian operation to elicit credible evidence’, he said.

President Rajapaksa told the print and electronic media editors at the breakfast meeting at Temple Trees on Tuesday that the credibility of the Darusman Report was highly questionable as it was an account based on baised sources and no dangerous situation would arise for Sri Lanka as a result of this Report.

‘There are many reasons to suspect the authenticity of the sources that have provided the figures on civilian casualties as mentioned in the report. The government had adopted the zero casualty policy and the military was committed to maintain it. The Security Forces had been sufficiently educated on Human Rights and humanitarian law to maintain the government policy throughout the operation. Over 300,000 civilians under LTTE terror sought relief and protection from the armed forces and they would not have done so if the forces were killing innocent civilians as alleged. Who is going to believe these accusations that the army killed civilians who were fleeing’, he asked.

President Rajapaksa said that the panel which had failed to report on the mass killings of innocent Tamils fleeing for life, by the LTTE, designated the letter as saviours of Tamils.

The President said that the government would make a complete assessment to reply the UNSG’s biased report and tell the world the truth in annihilating ruthless LTTE terrorism and apprise the government’s genuine efforts for rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres, resettlement of displaced civilians, reconstruction of the North and the East and also reconciliation. We will tell the world about our achievements in restoring normalcy and peace the country and expose the falsity of the controversial Darusman Report”, he said.

“There was no targeted killings of civilians during the last phase of the humanitarian operation as alleged in certain queries.

The Government of Sri Lanka was engaged in an operation aimed to liberate its own people from LTTE terrorists who had held them as human shields. That was why it was called the ‘Humanitarian Operation’. Our forces had always honoured the humanitarian norms during the operation”, he said.

That Sri Lanka violated international humanitarian norms was a total distortion of the actual ground situation. It was unfortunate that the UNSG’s panel ignored the fact that TNA MP Kanagaratnam had revealed on how the LTTE killed 600 civilians who tried to escape, the President said.

Commenting about India’s stand on Darusman report, the President said : “Our relations with India have been good at all times. We will enlighten the international community on our position on the Report. We will give the correct picture. Russia and China, we believe, will be with us.

Technicalities

President Rajapaksa, when asked to comment on Sri Lanka’s not signing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, said that simply because a country was no signatory to that statute, it was not safe. He stressed that he did not want to hide behind technicalities or legal points in defeating the attempts to press war crimes charges against Sri Lanka.

Answering a question by an editor, he said the government was interested in as certaining the truth of the decade long conflict and the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’, appointed in this regard was travelling to the four corners of the country to investigate the root causes and make recommendations to recommend to prevent repetition of conflicts of the same nature in future.

The President said that there was no reason to delay the release of the LLRC report: “I think the LLRC should be allowed adequate time to prepare a thorough report. We don’t need a flawed report like Darusman’s,” he said. Addressing the nurses at the ceremony held to mark the International Nurses Day, President Rajapaksa said that the humanitarian operation by our Security Forces was totally against terrorism and not against the Tamil people.

“If the government acted against the civilians in the North and the East, we would not have sent the essential items such as food and medicine to them and those in terrorist controlled areas knowing very well that the lion’s share of the stocks would go to the LTTE,” President said. He said that Sri Lanka was the only country which fed even the terrorists while engaging in a humanitarian operation to eradicate terrorism. At a meeting with Vice Chancellors of all universities held to discuss problems in the universities, President Mahinda Rajapaksa revealed the attempts by some elements to undermine the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi and said the time had come for all Sri Lankans to join hands to defeat these sinister motive.

“It is the duty of all Sri Lankans to foil the attempts made to belittle the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi,” President Rajapaksa said.

He also said that the conspiracies were being hatched by various anti-patriotic forces.He highlighted the need for job oriented courses in the university system to gain access to the local and international job markets.

Terrorists on roads

“Similar to the way the government eradicated LTTE terrorism, it will introduce a strategy to deal with the terrorists on the roads,” the President said speaking at the ‘Road Safety Conference’ and launch of the Decade of Road Safety in Sri Lanka.

He said it was alarming that road mishaps were the leading cause of deaths among children and young people between the ages of 15 to 29 and road accidents claim five or six lives daily while injuring and disabling hundreds of youth who could lead the country forward.

“The annual cost of road traffic injuries in Sri Lanka runs to over Rs. 10 billion, thus affecting the sustainable development of the country. Most accidents occur due to speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, not using seat belts and other safety equipment such as helmets, the use of vehicles that are old, poorly maintained and lacking safety features. All these statistics and findings give us the message that action should be taken to reduce road accidents. Therefore, high priority will be paid to reduce road accidents”, he said.The President said the government having observed the dangerous trend of road accidents, has taken several steps to minimise its accidents. “The road network is being developed with millions of funds being spent.

Highways are also being constructed. Due to this ongoing infrastructure development activities, there are no poorly designed or insufficiently maintained roads within country today. Drivers and pedestrians too have to abide by the traffic rules and regulations so as to minimise traffic accidents, he said

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