President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today he would not hesitate to withdraw Sri Lanka from any international body or organizations if they continuously target the country’s armed forces using baseless allegations.
“I assure you that under my administration, we will take every measure always to protect the dignity of our heroic forces. It is a national responsibility to ensure their rights. In a situation where even leaders of powerful countries have emphatically stated that they would not allow any action against their war heroes, in a small country like ours where our war heroes have sacrificed so much, I will not allow anyone to exert undue pressure on them or harass them,” the President said speaking at the ceremony to mark the 11th anniversary of military defeat of the LTTE.
The President said as an officer who was engaged in active service for around 20 years, later as the Secretary Defense for 10 years as well as a citizen, he is very well aware of the sacrifices made by the members of the armed forces. “Pain of the war is not strange to me. Therefore, I will not allow any room for attempts to discredit and destroy the dignity of our war heroes who made countless sacrifices to bring peace to entire Sri Lanka,” he said.
He also paid tribute of the nation to all war heroes and their families who contributed to the battle against separatism for three decades and said the highest honor that can be bestowed on them is to transform this country which was protected by them by laying down their lives to a land where every citizenry can live in peace, harmony and with dignity.
He recalled that with the end of terrorism, an environment where people could live without fear or anxiety and enjoy their human rights freely was created.
“After a period of 30 years, we ensured democracy and build an atmosphere where free and fair elections could be held. The atmosphere where people can travel freely without any restrictions to any place of the country was restored. Our war heroes and their families made immense sacrifices to usher in peace to the country which was engulfed in terror. War is not a bed of roses. Especially, the war heroes had to face numerous bitter experiences and difficulties when battling one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world which did not respect law,” he said.
The President said the prime objective of the Humanitarian Mission was to bring lasting peace in the country and because of the exceptional sacrifices made by the war heroes, today we have the opportunity to live in peace and harmony in a unitary state.
“Our country, nourished by Buddhist philosophy, possesses a form of administration that makes it an oasis for all religions and all nationalities. Throughout its history, people in this country including Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay, and Burgher have had equal rights. The motive of the extremists was to divide us. If they were successful in their attempt, our history could have taken a different course. Sri Lanka could have become a country where communities hate each other, engage in continuous battles for borders, fear of war is a common norm of life and another hapless and divided country,” he said.
The President added that the honor of liberating the country from this catastrophe should be given to all our heroic troops who fought for the peace in our country for a long time and remembered war heroes including General Kobbekaduwa and General Vijaya Wimalarathna who fought for this victory for more than three decades and laid down their lives for the country.